Weather woes keep members home
    February 8 2010 by Dianna Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

    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 Boone. “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 safe.

    “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 programs.

    Those churches encourage people to participate through those mediums.

    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. 
    2/8/2010 9:52:00 AM by Dianna Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 0 comments

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