One Georgia church and one Texas church that recently opened its doors during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic have closed their doors again after members and leaders tested positive for the virus, according to multiple media reports.

[The Hill] A representative for the Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle in Ringgold, Ga., told The Christian Post in a statement on Monday that church decided earlier this month to no longer offer “in-person worship services for the foreseeable future” after confirming some of its families were “dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 virus.”

The church said it had initially resumed in-person services weeks back as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp began to ease coronavirus restrictions on nonessential businesses in April. At the time, the church said it had also made sure to adhere to social distancing guidelines advised to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“Seating was marked to only permit sitting within the six-foot guidelines, all doors were open to allow access without the touching of doors, and attendees were asked to enter in a social distancing manner and were dismissed in a formal manner as well to ensure that the social distancing measures were adhered by all,” the church told the outlet.

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In India, the Catholic bishop’s conference has suspended all public masses in view of the three-week-long countrywide lockdown which started from the midnight of 24th March. There are pros and cons to this measure. As responsible citizens, Christians have to follow the rules laid down by authorities in these extraordinary times of crisis, but there is a hidden danger in all these measures. In Kerala, a catholic priest was arrested in the district of Thrissur, for defying the lockdown and celebrating the mass with a sizable congregation.

For me, it seems to be a sign of the times to come. Church authorities don’t seem to see the danger of this subtle branding of religion as a disposable or unessential item. There are people who argue to keep bars and pubs open or at least provide for home delivery to avoid social issues arising from withdrawal symptoms of people addicted to drinks, but there is nobody, not even bishop or priests, to speak out about the need to administer spiritual services of Eucharist and confession for those in distress.

Times of crisis are ideal circumstances for states to expand their control and power and this time the Church has bowed down to the state and failed in her mission to minister to a world seized by the panic of the pandemic. I am not ignoring the services and even life sacrifices that individual priests and religious have done in Italy and elsewhere in the world, but as an institution, the Church’s response was lukewarm, to say the least.

If you’re wondering whether your church services are canceled for the coming days or weeks, you should contact your local dioceses or center, or check their website.

 

 

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