With part of the ministerial
staff and about 40 church members sick, Pastor Bill Bowyer had to make a call.
Should the church hold
services or cancel and try to get everyone healthy?
The senior pastor of Wake
Cross Roads Baptist Church in Raleigh decided to cancel Wednesday evening
services Feb. 24.
“We had been getting reports
on Tuesday (Feb. 23) that people who had been at a Sunday School
leadership meeting (Feb. 21) were sick,” he said.
By Wednesday morning, Bowyer
said he had heard of up to 40 who were sick, most leaders for Sunday School and
Awana leaders for Wednesday night.
Three on the ministerial
staff were sick.
The church was going to have
to adjust Wednesday night programming because so many leaders were out.
Bowyer said they opted to
have a “much healthier experience on Sunday” (Feb. 28).
“I hate to cancel services,”
he said. “It’s unsettling to do that, but when you’re facing so much illness,”
there really isn’t a choice.
Extra effort was taken to
clean door handles and knobs especially near the area where the meeting took
place Feb. 21.
It was a first in his 32
years as a pastor.
Although it was not confirmed,
he believes the culprit to be the norovirus, a gastrointestinal virus that has
no known cure and is wreaking havoc throughout the state.
Recent outbreaks occurred on
cruise ships and among youth at a YMCA meeting in Raleigh.
Symptoms generally last a
couple of days but reports say that it can spread days and even weeks
The church had canceled
Sunday services Jan. 31 because of snow and ice, a move Bowyer did not make
“You create a huge problem
with people getting in and out of cars,” he said. “When you cancel on Sunday
most of the time you never make up what you lose in offerings.”