Southern Mississippi churches respond to CDC easing of COVID-19 restrictions

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) – In February, the CDC announced that masks were no longer required indoors, reassuring church members to gather together again in peace.

The Biloxi First Missionary Baptist Church said it had eased some restrictions, while imposing others.

Pastor Eric Dickey said it is up to the individual to wear masks, but people must follow entry and exit signs, maintain social distancing and maintain a people limit during certain services.

“We will see between 75 and 100 people on our first Sunday, which is our communion observance of the Lord’s Supper. Then through the second, third and fourth Sundays, we’ll see about 50-60,” Dickey said.

However, the COVID-19 lockdown has forced church officials to only see the congregation online.

Fortunately, Dickey said the church has already set up virtual services due to international members asking to see the services.

“We were already prepared for the pandemic without knowing it from the evening. We were a year, almost two years ahead. We had material back then, of course not like the number we have now, but we had to adapt,” Dickey said.

The church allowed people to attend in-person services eight months ago and said being in the same atmosphere enhances the spiritual experience.

“I always feel the presence of the Lord himself. Being able to interact with members in person says a lot about your faith, it says a lot about your spirituality,” Dickey said.

Advancing the mission of the church is to help people feel comfortable and secure with the spiritual word of the Lord.

“Because there is one thing about it, we want to keep our people safe, secure and spiritual. We provide the type of worship service that would be pleasing not only to God, but to the individual who comes to the service,” Dickey said.

In addition to limiting the number of people who can attend in-person services, the church said it is also reducing the time of services.

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