Extension helps churches fight COVID-19 spread
In times of trouble, many people turn to their church families for comfort. But the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a unique challenge: Gathering in groups is discouraged because it raises the risk of virus spread, prompting many churches to close.
University of Georgia Extension professionals in Chatham County launched “COVID-19 Updates for Worship Congregations,” a virtual training program that concentrated on African Methodist Episcopal congregations. This program educated clergy and others on topics such as surface cleaning techniques, proper hand hygiene and informational signage so they could reopen their church doors as safely as possible.
The program provided participants with printable signs and other information. The training also introduced ministers to alternative ways to safely reach their parishioners, such as social media, online newsletters and drive-in services.
About 40 churches throughout Georgia took part in the program, and 90% of participants said they found the training to be beneficial. Many also said the information enabled them to reopen for services, and for those not yet ready to reopen, that it helped them prepare for that day when it comes.