Coronavirus in Tennessee: Churches take precautions amid concerns

Coronavirus

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Church leaders are looking to take extra precautions for the health of their congregations as Thursday saw a coronavirus case confirmed in Knox County.

The Knox County Health Department is advising people to take some extra precautions by limiting personal contact at big events or large gatherings.

WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel heard from Knoxville church leaders, learning what steps they are taking to keep congregations healthy and safe.

MORE: Coronavirus Information Page | WATE

“We’ve already started with the way we handshake. We don’t handshake, we do forearms, and we kind of make a cross actually. And when we give Holy Communion, which is very important here, we hand sanitize very visibly so everybody knows we’re doing it,” said Grace Lutheran Church’s pastor Rich Elseroad.

City Church in Knoxville is also taking extra precautions. Hand sanitizer sits at the welcome table and in the lobby, and they’ve made changes to some service practices.

“Usually with communion, everybody will go by and take a piece of bread and they’ll dip it in the juice and go by, and so obviously that’s not a smart thing to do when there’s contagious illnesses going around. So we just said we’re going to temporarily suspend communion until this thing gets figured out, just so we don’t unnecessarily put people at risk,” said pastor Kent Bateman.

Both pastors urged people to stay home if they’re feeling sick, and both, at the moment, are planning on continuing services.

“If we need to suspend services temporarily, we may put teachings or sermons online or do music online, or whatever we need to do to kind of get through the thick of it, but as of right now we’re planning on having services as normal,” Bateman said.

“We are not going to suspend worship services. We feel that we should not do that, but we’re going to leave it up to the members of the church and visitors who might not want to be here, we can understand that,” said Elseroad.

LATEST STORIES

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Coronavirus COVID-19 videos

Mayor Kincannon speaks about her Safer at Home Order

Thumbnail for the video titled "Mayor Kincannon speaks about her Safer at Home Order"

White House expects 100K-240K virus-related deaths

Thumbnail for the video titled "White House expects 100K-240K virus-related deaths"

US warship captain seeks crew isolation as virus spreads

Thumbnail for the video titled "US warship captain seeks crew isolation as virus spreads"

New drive-thru testing site open in Greene County

Thumbnail for the video titled "New drive-thru testing site open in Greene County"

Coronavirus: Sevier County now offering COVID-19 testing

Thumbnail for the video titled "Coronavirus: Sevier County now offering COVID-19 testing"

Lee: More information to be released on COVID-19 deaths

Thumbnail for the video titled "Lee: More information to be released on COVID-19 deaths"

Tracking Coronavirus: How a local grocery delivery driver is working to stay safe

Thumbnail for the video titled "Tracking Coronavirus: How a local grocery delivery driver is working to stay safe"

Tracking Coronavirus: New health department rules for food trucks

Thumbnail for the video titled "Tracking Coronavirus: New health department rules for food trucks"

Tracking Coronavirus: Masks -- who needs them, who doesn't

Thumbnail for the video titled "Tracking Coronavirus: Masks -- who needs them, who doesn't"

Tracking Coronavirus: 2,200+ cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee

Thumbnail for the video titled "Tracking Coronavirus: 2,200+ cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee"

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee talks about the 23 COVID-19 deaths and 2,239 coronavirus cases in Tennessee

Thumbnail for the video titled "Tennessee Governor Bill Lee talks about the 23 COVID-19 deaths and 2,239 coronavirus cases in Tennessee"

Knox County Health Departmentd daily briefing on March 31, 2020

Thumbnail for the video titled "Knox County Health Departmentd daily briefing on March 31, 2020"

Ole Smoky Distillery donating housemade hand sanitizer to Sevier County Sheriff's Office

Thumbnail for the video titled "Ole Smoky Distillery donating housemade hand sanitizer to Sevier County Sheriff's Office"

Knox County utilities won’t be shut off for non-payment, Mayor Jacobs confirms

Thumbnail for the video titled "Knox County utilities won’t be shut off for non-payment, Mayor Jacobs confirms"

Coronavirus in Tennessee: Knox County cases up to 63

Thumbnail for the video titled "Coronavirus in Tennessee: Knox County cases up to 63"

FDA approves plan for Ohio lab to sterilize thousands of masks for reuse

Thumbnail for the video titled "FDA approves plan for Ohio lab to sterilize thousands of masks for reuse"

Hawkins County mayor declares local emergency and safer at home directive

Thumbnail for the video titled "Hawkins County mayor declares local emergency and safer at home directive"

White House turns to statistical models for virus forecast

Thumbnail for the video titled "White House turns to statistical models for virus forecast"

Stranded cruise ship hit by virus begs Florida to dock

Thumbnail for the video titled "Stranded cruise ship hit by virus begs Florida to dock"

East TN businesses react to Gov. Lee's executive order

Thumbnail for the video titled "East TN businesses react to Gov. Lee's executive order"

Trending Stories

WATE 6 On Your Side Twitter

Trending Stories