Tazewell County church prepares for first in-person service in two months

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NORTH TAZEWELL, VA (WVNS) – Pastor Steve Branch and his congregants are cleaning and revamping the inside of Destiny Outreach Ministries.

Pastor Steve said they are bracing for for their first in-person service in two months.

“I’m a people person, I miss people,” Pastor Steve said.

As part of Virginia’s Phase One of reopening, churches will be allowed to reopen at half their capacity as early as this weekend. But, Pastor Branch decided to wait until May 31, 2020.

“We’re in the process right now of training our leadership and our volunteers to make sure everyone is comfortable and safe,” Pastor Steve explained.

He is putting protocols in place with the help of congregant Jarred McFarland, who works for a local industrial health uniform company and offered his knowledge and resources.

“The church is here to help people in the community, now I want to help them,” McFarland said. “They’re actually gonna take a thermometer and as the congregation comes in, they’ll be greeted and their temperature will be taken…then they’ll be ushered into the sanctuary where there will be a safe space in between rows.”

They are also shortening service from two hours to one, so they have time to disinfect before the next one.

“We’ll micro-scrub and do everything that we possibly can to disinfect, let it set, and make sure everything possible is done so when the second service comes in we’ll be ready to go,” Pastor Steve said. “We’ll do it again after the second service and close it up.”

Instead of passing around a basket for monetary donations, people will be ushered to go up one at time.

Pastor Steve understands some people may be hesitant to return to church, so they will continue streaming in-person services on the Destiny Outreach Ministry Facebook page.

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