As cancellations came in fast and furious this week, one group remained steadfast in their refusal to panic.
Northern Jefferson County pastors were largely united in their message of “Faith Over Fear” in the face of the threat of coronavirus infection.
Kimberly Church of God Pastor Stan Cooke said his congregation was taking precautions such as asking members not to have physical contact with each other (i.e. handshakes, hugging, etc.) and providing hand sanitizer, but would not be canceling services.
“The Scripture tells us to live by faith, not by fear,” Cooke said. “We will be wise, but not fearful.”
Cooke said he had sent out a message via the church’s phone tree system asking that members take the mentioned precautions and would not be furthering the message in his sermon on Sunday.
“We will be continuing our sermon series leading to resurrection Sunday,” Cooke said.
Gardendale’s largest churches posted messages from their pastors on Facebook that seemed to be in agreement with Cooke.
Gardendale First Baptist Church posted a message from Pastor Kevin Hamm that read, “Be wise! Be alert! Be prepared! But do not be paralyzed by fear! Now is the time for every believer to demonstrate what faith in God looks like! Our only hope is Jesus! PK.”
Late Friday, GFBC issued the following statement via Facebook:
•We will not pass the offering buckets during services; however, we will have ushers by the doors collecting at the end of each service. As a reminder, you can give online or by text with Pushpay by visiting gfbc.com/why-we-give. You may also give by mailing to our church offices at 940 Main Street, Gardendale, AL 35071.
Gardendale Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church’s Senior Pastor Steve Baccus posted this message late Friday:
"After contacting all of our worship folks, we will still have 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM worship services this Sunday. The staff and volunteers, and the musicians and singers who make the worship service happen are ready and willing to lead. We will be making some adjustments. We ask that everyone please greet one another with less or no physical contact. We will also have stations for giving our tithes and offerings rather than passing the plates or bags. Sunday School is "officially" cancelled; this is to protect those who are older or have compromised immune systems. No one will chastise you if meet for Sunday School, but please do not meet if you have someone in your class who is vulnerable. Sunday School class leaders should be communicating with class members. There will be instruction and supervision available for the teen classes in case some young persons show up. The Sunday evening musical is also cancelled - we will reschedule.
Church of the Highlands, which has a church in Fultondale, announced late Friday that it will continue with services as usual on Sunday as well.
Other area churches throughout Fultondale, Gardendale, Morris, Kimberly and Warrior did not respond to message left on voicemails or emails asking about services for this weekend, but have not issued a notice of cancellation either.