SUMITON - Sumiton Church of God has reported that a person who tested positive with COVID-19 attended the church on March 8.
Pastor Victor Massey released a March 19 letter to church members through the church's Facebook site on Friday afternoon, and the letter was reposted later by a Facebook member. The post noted that the church wanted "to make you aware of the first positive case that has been reported within our own church family."
"Today, we have received notification and confirmation of a positive COVID-19 case that attended our church on March 8th," Massey wrote in the letter, which was made available through a link on Facebook. "As of March 8th, there were no state regulations prohibiting a gathering of any size. It is recommended that if you attended on March 8th to take extra steps to isolate yourself from others (even if you are not displaying symptoms)."
The person who tested positive was not identified in the letter. The Alabama Department of Public Health is also not releasing names of those who have tested positive.
Massey repeated what was shared elsewhere on its digital media concerning services, noting the church would only worship online for three Sunday mornings: March 22, March 29, and April 5. Gov. Kay Ivey has ordered that meetings with 25 or more people, where people cannot be spread out by 6 feet, are prohibited in order to prevent the spread of the virus. The order lasts until April 5.
"Please worship with us at 10:45 a.m., beginning Sunday online at www.sumitoncog.com, Facebook, YouTube, or Vimeo. We will not meet on campus Wednesday night, March 25, and April 1," he said.
Massey said, "Even though we will be separated by space, we don't have to be isolated in spirit. Please know you are not alone, and we care about you. We will pray, study God's Word, share and give online together this Sunday at 10:45 a.m. on our livestream, www.sumitoncog.com. Our leadership wants to place your safety above all other concerns while we do not forget to acknowledge God and petition Him on behalf of so many who need hope and healing in this moment."
He added that in times like these it is easy to fear but that God will sustain those who turn to Him, and that He was still at work.
"In this moment of history, what would happen if we turned to God in unceasing prayer for the answer to something we cannot seem to solve on our own?" he asked.
Massey said the congregation was called upon to be "good neighbors" and to love and pray for each other. He said people should pray for the sick, as well as medical professionals and government leaders.
He said the church would continue to give updates as developments occur.
The church website Friday night had information about COVID-19 and a video from Massey talked about various ways the church was dealing with the virus and state orders.