CAPE CORAL — As COVID-19 continues to spread in Florida, and around the nation, people are trying to figure out where it’s coming from.
Many people are now blaming churches and religious services for allowing the virus to spread. On Wednesday morning, a headline in the New York Times called churches a “major source of Coronavirus cases”.
So we spoke with the pastor at Cape Coral Community Church about what they’re doing to combat the virus, and the stigma.
This week was supposed to be the grand reopening for the church, but looking at the numbers, Pastor David Rigby changed his plans.
“You see the way we have the seats here where they’re grouped six feet apart, every other row. We were ready to start, but I don’t think you can have 50 people in a room without increasing risk," said Rigby.
Rigby also said the pandemic has affected members of his church.
“We’ve had deaths in the congregation," said Rigby.
The solution to canceling in-person worship at Cape Coral Community Church has been a work in progress, but one of the most popular has been drive-in services.
“People are in their cars, and then it’s piped right through their radio, clear sound," said Rigby.
Instead of “amen", people just honk the horn. Meanwhile, church classes, and every other activity, take place online.
“Our community groups are online, our teaching is online, our services are online, and that’s where we stand yet," said Rigby.
But Rigby admits other congregations are not taking all these steps. Wednesday morning, a headline in the New York times pointed the finger at churches with more lax policies as being a major source of cases, but Rigby doesn’t agree.
“I think that, although it makes a sensational headline, it’s not a fair assessment of what’s causing the spike," said Rigby.
Rigby said, right now, people are looking for someone to blame for the spike, which is why churches have to follow the rules.
“It’s been a big struggle for government how to figure out, how to keep the people of their states and their communities safe, and still not mess with religion, and so if we as churches are not sensitive to their struggle, and the trouble they’re having, and if we don’t come out on the conservative side ourself, you’re going to get blamed," said Rigby.
Rigby said, he also recognizes this new way to worship may not be a short-term change.
“The process we use as a church, where we all gather in one building, it may never be the way it was," said Rigby.