Weather woes keep members home
Dianna Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor
February 08, 2010

Weather woes keep members home

Weather woes keep members home
Dianna Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor
February 08, 2010

Inclement weather.

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.