July 28, 2020
James Carson has watched the church he loves go through a lot in the past two years. When it went up in flames in August 2018, he saw the smoke from his house across the cow pasture. It was a long process, but they rebuilt.
And now he’s watching from home again as his beloved church family at Warrior Creek Baptist Church in Strawberry goes through something together again — a COVID-19 outbreak.
More than 40 members got coronavirus after the church’s revival in mid-July, including Pastor Darryl Ross.
“It was held inside with social distancing,” said Carson, a World War II vet featured on page 1 of the May 21 issue of The Alabama Baptist. He’s in his 90s and — along with his wife, Dot, who is also considered high risk — hasn’t attended church since April at his doctor’s recommendation.
“Right now they say this area is a hotspot,” Carson said. “That was sort of a shocker to us.”
The church, which runs between 80 and 100, met for a while with drive-in services using a broadcast system that let church members tune in with their car radio.
In June, Warrior Creek Baptist was back to some normal gatherings, and in July, they started their weeklong revival like they usually do. Except this year they only made it to Thursday — that was when Ross heard one of the men attending had tested positive even though he had no symptoms.
The church shut revival down, and “by Friday night, I’ve got church members sick everywhere,” Ross told Al.com.
That night should’ve been the night the church gathered in its newly constructed fellowship hall for the first time. A year ago, their July revival was the first time the congregation met in the sanctuary they’d rebuilt after the fire.
Ross told The Alabama Baptist that even though the group has been pretty ill, they are “getting better.”
Masks weren’t required for the revival, and many members skipped the event, he said. Those who came distanced at the level they were comfortable with.
No one with COVID-19 has been hospitalized so far but two of the cases were serious, according to Ross. (Grace Thornton)