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Opening church in pandemic

New Mount Zion Baptist Church in Orangeburg, like others in the area, has been streaming Sunday services since the pandemic shutdown two months ago. Each Sunday, Pastor Todd A. Brown tells us that any decision to reopen our church will be considered prayerfully and must take into account the health, safety and spiritual well being of all of our members.

Then abruptly, just before Memorial Day, the federal government declared all churches and other places of worship open for services immediately.

Confronting the mixed messaging and confusion among the congregation because of the declaration, Pastor Brown told us that we should remain prayerful. He said that leadership should always think about the safety of the people they are called to serve.


Then he made a statement that should resonate among all believers, “ Why would you listen to someone who does not practice it in their own life. If you don’t go to the sanctuary, you can’t tell me when it is good for me to go. We will keep worshiping virtually until the Lord says differently."

Leo Twiggs of Orangeburg is a trustee of New Mount Zion Baptist Church.

Coronavirus: with our feet off base

It's like a tough game when we try to play fair

We didn't know that this fearful crisis was ever so near

It came in with a sudden blast, we had no clue

No one really knew what to do

It struck like lightning way up in the sky

Shook the world with people from far and nigh

It clapped like thunder, what a massive sound

It twisted the world like a spinning wheel going round and round

We are unable to determine when this invisible virus will no longer be around

Morning, noon and midnight, lurching down on us without a sound


It didn't come like snowflakes that quickly melted away

It didn't come through the night and vanish by the break of day

But it came almost as quick as the bat of an eye

As swift as a rainbow moves in the sky

As we continue with this challenge not knowing the outcome

We are grateful and appreciative of what others have done

We can stand and rest assured that God is bigger that any virus we know

He will comfort and defend us and that's for sure

Necessary precautions can't be taken lightly or for granted, so let's be real

For some may think that the virus is no big deal

But lives have been lost and sickness expanded worldwide

With medical teams and staff working side by side

If you think it's a joke, don't laugh in my face


Stay in your lane and remain in your place

Get on base before you are tagged out

If this is done, then there won't be any doubt

We pray, hope and act, each and everyone

Because this great world we live in is second to none

It preys on the healthy, wealthy, young and old, has no preference between rich and poor

And race is not an option, that's for sure

The author, 80-year-old Orangeburg resident Claflin Kennerly, is a retired educator and member of Mount Pisgah Baptist Church.

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