It takes a lot to keep a
Baptist church closed on Sunday, and on the rare occasion it happens, snow and
ice usually are the main culprits.
“If it looks like it is bad,
we cancel,” said Michael Townsend, pastor of Meat Camp Baptist Church in rural
“I talk with the deacons of
the church, get road conditions” and make the decision.
Since Dec. 18, Townsend said
the church has canceled services at least three Sundays and a Wednesday night.
“One Sunday 20 inches of
snow, the next Sunday we had ice,” he said, sharing that at another church that
met on a day Meat Camp cancelled, a member slipped and broke her leg.
“This is winter like 25-30
years ago,” Townsend said. “The last 10-15 years has spoiled us.”
Meat Camp members and others
in western North Carolina use Ray’s Weather web site and
local radio stations to learn conditions in the area and to get the word out
about church closings.
For Truett Baptist
Association, with headquarters in Marble, the closings don’t “last very long,”
said Mitchell Shields, director of missions. Most churches in the association
take the safest route: “If it looks like or is icy, they will cancel services.
That’s almost automatic.”
There are three churches
where the church always meets but they encourage their members to play it
“Our folks are used to
that,” Shields said. “Most of our congregations are older people. They play it
very safe. They just close the doors and don’t do anything on those Sundays.”
First Baptist Church in
Murphy shows its service on cable television and four or five have radio
Those churches encourage people to participate through those
While individual churches
might have big events during December through February, Shields said the
association tries to steer clear of those months when planning events.
The hardest part for most
churches when not meeting is the missed offerings.
Pastors and associational
leaders encourage members to give regularly and not forget about the church
just because services aren’t held.