ROANOKE, Va. – The coronavirus has changed the way churches in Southwest Virginia worship.
Nearly 80 churches reported to 10 News they canceled their Sunday service, but others decided to stay open.
The Church at Parkers Pastor Brian Robinson decided to keep Sunday service because he believes his congregation is younger than most in the area.
“I think people are probably more at risk standing in line at Walmart or Kroger, and touching carts over and over again, than being here,” Robinson said. “I trust God, and I wash my hands. It’s not one or the other.”
Robinson did make some coronavirus-related changes. The congregation avoided handshakes, hand sanitizer was readily available, and the church decided to leave collection plates at the altar instead of using ushers.
Christiansburg’s First Church of God found middle ground between opening and closing. Pastor Lance Jenkins closed off the church to his congregation, but livestreamed a full sermon for them to watch at home.
“We do not want to stop gathering and worshipping God, even if that is online," Jenkins said. "He deserves to be glorified, He deserves to be praised.”
Robinson said he is still deciding what to do next week, but he hopes people respect what churches are doing in this time.