OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Many church sanctuaries normally packed with people on Sunday mornings were empty this week as some local churches chose to cancel their services or only have church online.
“I regret to inform you that we are going to cancel all services tomorrow at church of the servant,” Senior Pastor Dr. Matthew Mitchell of Church of the Servant OKC said to his members in an online video.
Church of the Servant is one of several metro churches choosing to have their services only online for the time being amid COVID-19.
Crossings Community Church also made that decision last week.
“While we cannot gather in person, we still have the opportunity to worship and invite you to join us online,” the church’s website reads.
Life.Church announced they too would be closing their doors at all church campuses and only having church online.
“Cannot tell you what’s going to happen with this virus. In fact, I don’t think even those who would call themselves experts could tell you what’s going to happen,” Senior Pastor Craig Groeschel said to members watching online Sunday morning.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter released a statement on Saturday following questions about whether the government has the authority to cancel church services:
“Consistent with state and federal legal safeguards, church services across the state can go on as normal tomorrow unless they are postponed or rescheduled by the church itself. If the situation were to ever become so dire that church services needed to be cancelled by the government, all other similarly sized and situated gatherings would also need to be cancelled as well. However, Oklahomans planning to attend Sunday services tomorrow should use good judgment and common sense. If they feel ill or under the weather or they have credible belief that they may have been in contact with a person who has contracted COVID-19, they should stay home. If individuals need more tips or advice on how to practice proper social distancing or how they can protect themselves, listen to medical experts and utilize the resources from the Center for Disease Control as well as Oklahoma state and local government resources through the Oklahoma State Department of Health. My office will continue working with federal, state and local governments to continue providing guidance assistance on addressing Coronavirus issues as they evolve.”
When churches like Crossings, Life.Church and Church of the Servant plan to open back up is up in the air right now.
“I look forward to seeing you again in person very soon, but I don’t know when that day will be,” Dr. Mitchell said.
Church leaders say they will be closely monitoring the situation and keeping their members posted.
“It’s always best to make wise decisions based on what we know today in this moment and that’s how we’re going to lead. We’re going to lead day-to-day, we’re going to watch what’s happening. We’re going to pray for wisdom and we’re going to make the best and wise decisions as possible,” Groeschel said.