Local churches on alert due to COVID-19, causing one synagogue to end in-person services

Churches take new precautions for coronavirus

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The novel coronavirus is having a big effect on local churches as health officials warn against large gatherings.

Minister Eric Gentry with Highland Church of Christ in Cordova says his church is making some changes to keep their more than 1,000 members who attend weekly services safe.

“So we’re following CDC guidelines in terms of sanitation, so we have increased the cleaning of our building each week especially after large gatherings,” said Gentry.

Gentry says the church staff is adding additional sanitation stations, requiring greeters to wear gloves and stopping certain traditions.

“One of the big things in Churches of Christ is how we take the lord's supper,” said Gentry.

Passing of the trays has come to an end. They now use individual, pre-packaged grape juice and bread.

Local churches changing communion due to coronavirus

In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, some churches across the country are taking more drastic steps.

“I don’t believe whether you go to church during this period of time is a test of faith,” said Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.

Governor Beshear is recommending churches across the state of Kentucky cancel their services for the weekend.

One religious institution in Memphis has decided to do the same.

Rabbi Micah Greenstein with the Temple Israel said on the synagogue’s Facebook page Wednesday, “Because the health and well-being of our synagogue family is our utmost concern, we are putting into place proactive measures to protect the most vulnerable population as defined by the CDC.”

Greenstein said beginning this Shabbat, in-person, communal worship will move to a virtual service. The service will live-streamed on their Facebook page and website.

Greenstein also told his members that while they are going to a “virtual church” format, they will continue all lifecycle events such as baby namings and bar mitzvahs.

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