SOUTH FULTON, Ga. - For many Americans, their houses of worship are like second homes, the members of the congregation their extended family. These are unprecedented times for people of faith.
The churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples where they gather for religious services are now shuttered due to the coronavirus outbreak.
As Pastor of Zion Hill Baptist Church, the spiritual comfort of Reverend Dr. Aaron L. Parker provides is needed now more than ever. With the shelter in place order in effect, Pastor Parker relies on other means of communication like phone calls to minister to church members.
Pastor Parker told FOX 5's Deidra Dukes, "It is of utmost importance to be patient in a time like this. Because people don't know where they are a lot of times. So, it's the extended patience the extended time, since you can't be there physically you try to be there emotionally as much as you can."
He and other religious leaders are turning to online technology to connect with their congregations in large numbers. Reverend Dr. Gregory Pollard, the pastor of The Enon Church, is using multiple social media platforms to keep the congregation socially connected.
"The way I've been maneuvering through this process most certainly through our YouTube Channel, and through other connectivities through Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. Just the other night, I had about 300 or so people on the line, on a conference call doing a town hall just to assess where they were, to hear from them."
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While many are disappointed they won't attend traditional Easter services this year, rather than looking at social distancing as a punishment or inconvenience, Pastor Parker says staying apart from family, friends, church members during the outbreak is truly an act of love.
"You are doing this as an act of love. If people understand that this is an act of love, it sort of eases some of the discomfort of inconvenience, but rather we understand that this is what we are doing for one another."
Best prevention measures:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
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