STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – A church in Statesboro, where several members were cited for ignoring social distancing mandates last Sunday, held its Easter service without incident.
According to a member of Redeeming Love Church of God the Bibleway, the congregation did follow social distancing guidelines this week. The member told News 3 that families were seated on the right of the small church with space between them. Individual members sat on the left side.
In recent weeks, the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous complaints about large gatherings at the church. Last week, four members of the church’s governing body were cited for not practicing safe social distancing protocol.
Under Gov. Brian Kemp’s executive order, churches are allowed to hold services so long as the congregation practices social distancing. However, the Georgia Department of Public Health strongly discourages these types of gatherings.
Kemp on Friday made a call to religious groups to only hold remote services online or by phone.
Dr. Clayton Coward, president of Redeeming Love Church of God the Bibleway believes the governor’s order is unfair.
“We only have maybe less than 100 people that are attending this church. That’s not nearly the amount of traffic that’s going through Walmart,” said Coward. “And to bring these kinds of restrictions on the church and not give those same restrictions to Walmart — we think that that’s not fair, and it’s not right.”
While a deputy cruiser was seen driving by the church several times early Sunday morning, during the service, no law enforcement was visible in the area.
Contributions to this report made by Lewis Levine, Coastal News Service