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Shreveport pastors share how their churches are handling coronavirus concerns

Local pastors praying over coronavirus concerns
Local pastors praying over coronavirus concerns(KSLA)
Updated: Mar. 18, 2020 at 7:06 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - ArkLaTex churches are having to come up with ways to still have services amid coronavirus concerns.

Pastors from Praise Temple, Praise Temple North, New Life Full Gospel House of Worship, Greater Love Outreach Ministries, Impact Church and True Vine Full Gospel Baptist Church met to discuss their plans today.

They invited their congregations to meet at Praise Temple on Wednesday to pray over coronavirus concerns, but wouldn’t allow more than 50 in at a time.

“I never would have thought in a million years, or at least in my lifetime, that I would be telling people to stay home from church," Bishop L. Lawrence Brandon of Praise Temple said. "But we are encouraging people to stay home. If you don’t have to get out, don’t get out, stay home. We are streaming. We are using social media.”

They say as community leaders, it’s their job to not only keep their congregation calm — but to keep them safe and informed.

“Well it is our responsibility of course,” Brandon said. “What were are doing is we are limiting the exposure. Because if you are healthy, we want you to be healthy. If you are sick, we want you to be healed and so we are taking the necessary precautions. We have hand sanitizer, we are overly cleaning our facilities, cleanliness is next to godliness, no pun intended.”

Those who attended prayer at Praise Temple on March 18 said they were praying for the community.

“I feel like God is the only one we can call upon right now,” Barbara Norton said. “My faith is not greater today than it was yesterday because of what we are going through as a community. I don’t want people to panic or get into a mold where they have no hope. I’m just asking the community to keep the faith and continue to pray. Not just because of the situation, we find ourselves in, but prayers do work. I passed by a sign the other day that said ‘Worry about today because today is here. But don’t worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will take care of itself.’ There is nothing I can do today for tomorrow. It hasn’t even gotten here yet and I don’t know what it will look like or if I will even be here. That’s the reason why we have to reach out and depend on Jesus because he knows what tomorrow will bring.”

“One thing I am stressing to our congregation, and any other congregation that will take heed, is that although we are in a situation where we may have to refrain from the church building, that does not refrain us from worship,” Overseer Brandon Lacey of New Life Full Gospel House of Worship said. “This is not the first time the church has seen a situation where they couldn’t worship corporately. The church was started out of houses and so we may just have to go back to that model for quite some time until this passes. Even though you can’t come to the church building, don’t let that restrict you from worshiping.”

“I’m excited that we can come together and come up with ideas that will help our people,” said Pastor Michael Nation of Greater Love Outreach Ministries. “This is an opportunity for us to do what God put in us. This gives us the opportunity to live our faith and show our people when we come together as one.”

The pastors said they will continue to hold service, but will not allow more than 50 people to attend; they will be livestreaming services for those who stay at home.

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