Home Christian News NC County Closes Church After 6 Die, 181 Positive for COVID-19

NC County Closes Church After 6 Die, 181 Positive for COVID-19

Bailey, whom members refer to as “Sweet Daddy C.M. Bailey,” then listed days and times for the church’s services (the church holds services seven days a week) and said, “Don’t make excuses for not coming when you are so able to come. Some of you Pastors are not encouraging your members to come to service and to do their work in the House of Prayer. Don’t let my people become lazy and non-supportive, because of your weak state. Bring my children to the mountain. Let them come to service and give God everything.” 

North Carolina was in Phase 2 of its “Safer at Home” plan when the letter was sent, and during that time, gatherings of more than 10 people indoors were prohibited. There were exceptions to that limit; notably, the guidance stated that the cap on mass gatherings “does not apply to the exercise of First Amendment rights.” It went on to say, however, that “in these settings, people are strongly encouraged to follow the Three Ws and should avoid congregating in groups.” On Oct. 2, North Carolina moved into Phase 3, which limits mass gatherings to 25 indoors and 50 outdoors.

The church did not respond to requests for comment from the Charlotte Observer or WCNC. UHOP members told WCNC that church leaders had instructed them not to comment on the situation. 

The Charlotte Observer noted that UHOP is known for its good work in the community, including providing college scholarships, affordable food through its cafeterias, and housing for seniors and poor families. District 2 Mecklenburg County Commissioner Vilma Leake told the Observer that while she is not a member, she has visited the church often and says, “The experience is wonderful if you’re a true believer in the Christian faith.”

Rev. Kenneth Robinson, who believes that the county has been more lenient toward breweries than it has been toward churches, described UHOP as insular and noted the church has not embraced technology and therefore has not been livestreaming its services. “They’re not a mainstream organization,” he said. “They’re a very tight, closed organization.” 

Robinson leads a group of 100 Black churches focused on social justice, a group which UHOP, an African American church, has not joined. But the pastor said that the church closing “breaks our heart” and that “when one church is affected, we’re all affected, but it just made us tighten our protocols.”