Georgia Church Shuts Down Again Two Weeks After Reopening for In-Person Services as Several Families Become Infected With Coronavirus

Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle in Ringgold, Ga. | Facebook/Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle

A Georgia church that reopened after shutting down due to the coronavirus has axed in-person services again in what they describe as “an effort of extreme caution” as several of their families have become infected by the deadly disease.

Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle, an independent Baptist church led by Pastor Justin Gazaway in Ringgold, Georgia, restarted in-person services on April 26. Church representative Joan Lewis told The Christian Post on Monday, however, that they decided to suspend “in-person worship services for the foreseeable future” on May 11 after learning several families had contracted the virus.

“Our hearts are heavy as some of our families are dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 virus, and we ask for your prayers for each of them as they follow the prescribed protocol and recuperate at home,” the church said in a formal statement.

“Though we feel very confident of the safe environment we are able to offer in our facilities, the decision was made … that we would discontinue all in-person services again until further notice in an effort of extreme caution for the safety and well-being of our families.”

A service inside the Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle in Ringgold, Ga. | Facebook/Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle

The church did not say how many of their families were affected but noted that only about 25% of congregants had participated in in-person worship services during the time they had reopened.

“Based on the current data that was shared and the low volume of cases in our area at the time, and in an effort to offer our families both options of either attending in-person services or streaming online, we resumed services in the Tabernacle a couple of weeks ago. While approximately a fourth of our congregation chose to attend the in-person services, our other families chose to remain at home and continue enjoying our streaming services,” the church said.

During that time, officials noted that “all modes of social distancing were practiced and followed by the families attending.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair