Church leaders impacted by COVID-19 call for precautions

Posted at 10:52 PM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-28 08:42:16-04

(WXYZ) — As we enter the weekend- some people could be considering going to church, but one church leader and a state lawmaker are speaking out. They are urging churches to use technology to allow people to worship safely.

7 Action News has reported on church leaders falling ill with COVID-19 in recent days. Pastor Horace Sheffield of New Destiny Christian Fellowship, which has churches in Detroit and Brooklyn, New York spoke to WXYZ on Thursday about being diagnosed with the virus. He made a plea for people to take precautions.

“Stay home. Let this thing pass. Be absolutely sure you are not exposed,” he said.

Representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo from Detroit said politically some pastors were calling on her and the governor, lobbying that they make it clear that churches can gather in person during the COVID-19 crisis. At the same time, she was hearing from church after church with pastors, bishops, and members fighting for their lives.

“We have learned from cases where multiple people have come in contact and tested positive in those environments. Certainly we want to refrain from those activities and do what the governor has asked us to do,” said Rep. Gay-Dagnogo.

Her constituents have told her how they have witnessed the Church of God in Christ or COGIC churches in the area get hit hard. They spoke about how earlier this month, before the governor’s shelter in place order, there was a Church of God in Christ Convention at New St. Paul Tabernacle Church of God in Christ in Detroit. Now, denomination-wide, some are asking whether during that gathering the virus spread.

“From the larger geographical perspective in Michigan… we have been hit hard with several deaths,” said Pastor Marcus Ways, of the Christian Gospel Center Church of God in Christ.

Pastor Ways says he is praying for Bishop and Mrs. John Henry Sheard, who are both in the hospital. Their son Bishop J. Drew Sheard shared the news of their illness on Facebook while asking for prayers.

“Let’s stay home. Let’s stay prayerful. Let’s stay safe,” said Pastor Ways.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Read our daily Coronavirus Live Blog for the latest updates and news on coronavirus.

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

See all of our Helping Each Other stories.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.