NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Some Lowcountry churches opted to voluntarily shut their doors because of Coronavirus, instead offering services for members online. And while most chose to close doors, some did remain open including one church that now says some members may have the virus.
On Tuesday, World Overcomers Ministries in North Charleston confirmed members of the church have tested positive for COVID-19. In a full statement, officials said: “We are practicing social distancing and if people want to wear a mask they can. We encourage anybody that’s having challenges to stay home because of course no one can pinpoint where their symptoms came from.”
The statement goes on to say: “the entire building has been treated for COVID-19 prevention as well as deep cleaned. We also wipe down all of our surfaces, before and after every service. We haven’t had children’s church since March of this year, so we are following guidelines as much as possible.”
The statement closes with: “We have had some people that go to the church who’ve tested positive and they are doing fine, of course they had to quarantine for 14 days. And just like before, yes we do have services online for those that need to stay home.”
Several people have come forward with concerns over possible cases of Coronavirus at World Overcomers Ministries. They say the church, which has remained open for service during the pandemic, is putting the health of members at risk. Among those is Johnathan Thrower.
“Well I think it sends out a bad message,” says Thrower.
Thrower says concerns date back to April when he learned the church kept doors open. Thrower, who has friends that attend the church, recently learned of possible positive cases at the church.
“Not practicing social distancing, they’re not required to wear a mask, you can just come in and sit next to each other,” says Thrower. “That’s where the irresponsible behavior comes in.”
And while many churches made the decision to close doors, Thrower says remaining open sends a potentially dangerous message.
“You’re advising people to do something that is totally opposite of what medical professionals who have trained, studied, and researched this virus for a long time are telling us,” says Thrower.
Thrower says he believes prayer is good but should come with responsibility during a pandemic.
“Church is not confined to four walls, you can have spiritual edification online,” says Thrower.
Officials from World Overcomers Ministries say their North Charleston building has been treated and deep cleaned for COVID-19. They also they have offered both online and in-person services during the pandemic and will continue to offer them.