COLUMBIA, S.C. — As South Carolina's businesses reopen around the state, faith based organizations are determining their next steps.
Many churches, synagogues and masques have turned to virtual services to reach their congregations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
That will continue to be the norm for Reformation Lutheran Church in Columbia.
“It’s still just as contagious," says Tim Bupp, pastor of Reformation Lutheran Church. "So, we made the decision to follow CDC guidelines.”
The CDC recommends that churches wait for a 14-day decline in the number of cases in the state.
They also recommend that churches limit the singing of hymns as the virus can spread through the air.
“Our goal is to keep our elderly home because they are the ones vulnerable," says Pastor Bupp. "I know darn well that if we would have had an outside service, they would’ve been there.”
Senator Darrell Jackson of Bible Way Church of Atlas Rd says he wants to keep his congregation safe, especially with it being predominantly African American, a population that has been hit hard by the coronavirus.
He's had conversations with pastors in the area about what to do and also plans to have a virtual town hall with members of his congregation.
Not all churches have decided to refrain from in-person services.
St. Peter's Catholic Church in Columbia has been holding in-person mass since May 11th.
However, there are big changes to the way mass is held. For example, they are limiting bathroom use, they are not opening their nursery, they have removed hymnals from pews, and are only allowing 25 percent capacity at this time to provide for social distancing.
A full list of their guidelines can be found here.
Many in the faith-based community are aiming to get back to an in-person service.
However, Pastor Bupp says, "the church isn't inside those walls. It's outside of the walls. That's just a meeting place."