FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) - Monday, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced that several confirmed cases of the coronavirus came from clusters, several people who were in one place, and three of those clusters were related to church gatherings.
One of them was a conference at a Kansas City, Kansas, Church of God in Christ three weeks ago, which ended the day after the local government issued an order against gatherings of more than ten.
KCTV5 News called and emailed that Pentecostal denomination to comment on their direction to local churches going forward and haven’t had a response. But one local church that’s been ahead of the curve had something to say about the numbers the governor provided Monday.
Leawood’s Church of the Resurrection has been holding services via livestream from an empty sanctuary, beginning a week before the county handed down its orders because of the CDC recommendations.
Senior Pastor Adam Hamilton even gave one sermon from home and the church’s senior executive director says attendance has doubled.
“What people are telling us is they’re more connected than they ever have been because they’re using new tools to be hyper connected to the people around them,” Dan Entwistle, the Senior Executive Director for Church of the Resurrection, said.
People are sharing photos on Facebook of how they’re worshipping from home and discussing the sermon with each other. Church leaders say they know rural churches have fewer tools to broadcast but are using low-tech ways to connect.
“Whether it’s through Facebook, social media, recorded messages, and some churches are just reaching out and phone calling and connecting with people by text,” Entwistle said.
He says he understands how some would believe God would protect them regardless of what precautions they take or don’t. But his church philosophy is to give credit to science as well, wisdom that didn’t exist in Biblical times.
“If we are expecting God to protect us despite the risks that we put in front of ourselves, then instead of us becoming agents of healing in the community, we can actually become agents of harm by infecting others because of the risks that we’ve chosen to take,” Entwistle said.
KCTV5 News wrote to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment this afternoon to ask for the locations and timeframes of the other two church-event-related clusters and have not heard back.