BROWNSBURG — Churches throughout Central Indiana are taking precautions to help protect their members against the coronavirus.
At Connection Pointe Christian Church in Brownsburg, they’re making changes to help their congregation feel safe and prevent the spread of germs. Connection Pointe is located in Hendricks County, where the second confirmed case of COVID-19 in our state was announced Sunday.
For many Hoosiers, Sundays are a time to worship — but gathering thousands of people in one spot also means the potential for germs to spread. Leaders at the church are taking extra precautions by offering extra hand sanitizing stations, posting additional signage reminding people to wash hands, wiping down door handles between services and encouraging volunteers to wave rather than hug or shake hands.
"Anytime you have a situation where people are concerned about health, we just want people to know that we care and we are making changes to help them feel safe," communications director Jenn Storey said. “We’re just kind of upping what we’re doing and taking extra precautions so that people can continue to feel safe and in an environment that is truly here to give them hope.”
Julie Barker attends Connection Pointe and is glad to see the new measures in place.
“I think it’s awesome, and it allows people to feel comfortable,” Barker said.
Barker interacts with guests who are watching the church’s services online. Connection Pointe now livestreams three services a weekend, which is an option for guests amid coronavirus concerns.
"If they're feeling ill, they can join us online and can have the same experience,” Barker said. “If they can still join in person we'd love to have them."
The CDC recommends staying home if you’re sick, especially if you’re exhibiting coronavirus symptoms like fever, cough and shortness of breath.
Pastor John Dickerson spoke with the congregation Sunday about the coronavirus and reminded guests they do not have to take communion if they don’t feel comfortable.
"We just want to give you permission and peace that if you pass that tray on and you decide not to take it — guess what, you're not going to hell,” Dickerson said in a video message shared with the congregation Sunday.
Next week, the church is making changes to communion.
"We will actually have it encapsulated so people can take communion on their own,” Storey said. “We don't want to have a sense of fear by any means and that's not what God would want us to do either."
The church shared its extra precautions with its members via email and social media. They plan to continue the practices through June and then church leaders will re-evaluate at that point.