TALLAHASSEE, Fl. (WTXL) — After months of not being able to attend church, senior citizens at a Tallahassee church were able to walk through the doors to hear their pastor speak to them in person, at a safe distance.
Crossway Church had been doing virtual services for those high-risk for getting the coronavirus. Today, is the first day of starting an earlier service for higher risk members.
"They can spread out and have a designated area that they can sit and then their still not exposed to as many people as they would in a normal service," explained Tab Bradford, a board member for Crossway. "We are just trying to take the safest approach possible to allow them to be able to be here in fellowship and worship together, and at the same time be as wise as we can be about protecting their health."
The early service, which started at 8:00 a.m., is specifically designed for those at high-risk of contracting the Coronavirus. "We just felt like this was the best time and wanted to move forward with it and see how it went," explained Bradford.
Being away for months has church goers thrilled to be back. Sherry and Rick Whitney say they feel like they have been away for far too long. "Even though this is a smaller group, it's just so encouraging to finally be able to see people's faces to some extent," said Sherry.
Pastor Mitchell Lavender has been with the church for about two years now. He said the pandemic has made himself and the Crossway congregation realize how much they take for granted, as well, as how much they truly need one another.
"One of the hardest things is being able to take care of people, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually," explained Pastor Lavender. "You want people to be safe from the virus but people are also dealing with loneliness, anxiety, depression, not being able to be together has affected, I think, everybody."
Rick Whitney added, "Having face to face, it means so much. The quality of relationships are so important within the church."
Crossway Church has added some extra precautions for it's members. As of now, they are no longer singing. The church has also spaced out seating and blocked off rows of chairs.