Coronavirus Concerns Impact North Texas Church Services

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Two Sunday morning services took place at the First Baptist Church in Dallas despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that people should avoid large gatherings.

Members in attendance said they supported Pastor Robert Jeffress’ decision to host the services.

“I know our pastor and I know that he knows this is the most important thing and God would want us to worship today,” said Stephanie Robertson, First Baptist Dallas member.

The church designated four areas of the church for members to congregate in, including the main sanctuary.

Several other churches throughout North Texas chose to stream their services online instead of in person out of safety concerns. But some people disagreed with that decision.

“Quite frankly, I was appalled that places of faith would close today,” said Ashley Dodd, member of First Baptist Dallas. “We need to come together and pray even more in these times.”

The Catholic Diocese of Dallas issued a statement on its website encouraging people to watch mass live streamed from the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Meanwhile, instead of an online service at the Word of Truth Church in Arlington, members were invited to come for "drive-thru" prayer.

“Churches are designed for people to come together and meet,” Pastor Eben Conner said. “We didn't want to just have an online experience where people were not really touched.”

For two hours, car after car came to receive prayer. Members said it was just what they needed to get through the week.

“It's needed because people are still going through regular situations,” church member Nichole Woods said. “They still need somewhere to go and someone to talk to. I think it was awesome they came up with this.”

Conner said the church would soon transition to three services to minimize the number of people attending each one.

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