Local faith leaders encourage other churches to continue online services

WATCH: Local faith leaders encourage other churches to continue online services

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For churchgoers across the Mid-South Sundays and often many Wednesdays means worship services.

However, with a growing concern of covid-19, services as most of us know them are few and far between.

One of the questions FOX13 has been getting is if churches and houses of worship are exempt from orders like Safer at Home.

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Many pastors believed exempt or not, services with a full congregation need to stop.

FOX13 learned Wednesday that a pastor at Hope Church in Memphis tested positive for covid-19.

The pastor, his wife and 12 other members are in self-quarantine.

Other states acted against churches who still chose to gather.

The governor of Virginia made it a criminal offense for people to attend church services of more than 10 people.

Dr. Bill Adkins with Greater Imani Church said churches can still practice their religion openly but they do need to adjust the way services are executed.

“American’s have the right of freedom of speech,” said Adkins. “Freedom of the press, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly. This would be a dark day in American history if all of a sudden that we are arresting pastors and pulling them out of their pull pits if we have mandated and ordered that they cannot worship. That is the keyword worship. “

A few weeks ago, the Memphis Catholic Diocese and other houses of faith have suspended in-person worship and moved services online.

Adkins said congregations both large and small should follow the government orders to protect the well-being of the public.

“I think it is a question of good judgment,” Adkins said. “Executing good judgment would be that we would not bring that many people out. I don’t want to bring all of my members together at one time anywhere it is just not safe and very sound thinking.”

Pastor Marvin Mims of St. Mark Church also canceled church services and bible studies.

Mims said now is the time for churches to follow the rules to keep people safe.

“Romans chapter 13 states we are to obey those that are over us in our government,” said Mims. “I believe that especially though when there is a just cause for the health and welfare of all of us. The action that we are taking is for the betterment of all Americans. To me, the word of God supersedes the constitution in terms of this area of focus.”

Faith leaders said it is important for other faith leaders to educate themselves and their congregation about covid-19 and best methods to prevent the spread.