Memphis churches make changes to worship services as delta variant spreads

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — With growing concerns about the delta variant, some Mid-South pastors are making changes to their worship service.

The board at Lindenwood Christian Church is, once again, having to make decisions to keep people safe.

“After two months of having masks optional, we have now returned to masks mandatory for us to gather for worship on Sunday morning,” said Senior Minister Geoffrey Mitchell.

After closing several times due to COVID-19, things were getting back to normal. But now they’ve had to make another change.

“It has undeniably been a measure of faith,” Mitchell said. “You’ve had to trust in the dark. You’ve had to make the best choice with limited information and have done what you can to look out for people very vulnerable in this situation.”

First United Methodist Church has a similar message. The congregation also eased restrictions but started requiring masks last Sunday, along with more social distancing.

Doctors say it’s the right move.

“At least masking everybody I think is the proper situation right now,” said infectious disease specialist Dr. Stephen Threlkeld. “We may find as the numbers increase, we may need to be more virtual than we ever imagined we would be able to.”

Mississippi Boulevard Church is one place that’s remained virtual. There hasn’t been an indoor service since March of last year. Following a few outdoor gatherings, there were plans to reopen in the fall, but those plans have changed.

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“The delta variant has caused us to rethink and pushback those plans,” said Senior Pastor J. Lawrence Turner.

They’re looking for other ways to stay connected, erring on the side of caution and putting their faith in something greater.

“I would just encourage them to trust God through these moments,” Turner said. “To know that when we’ve done all we can to care for the people we’ve been called to serve that God will do the rest.”

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