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WARRENSBURG – Churches throughout Johnson County have announced altered schedules and change in their routines due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) through country and the world.

Some have canceled upcoming services while other have announced changes to cleaning routines and church practices.

LIFE CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE

Life Church of the Nazarene, 603 E. hale Lake Road, Pastor Bob Denham spoke with several members of the church's Leadership Team on Friday, March 13, concerning the services for Sunday, March 15.

"On the surface, it seems to be a simple question, 'Do we gather or not?' (Some churches are meeting, others are not.) To us the questions are deeper, 'How do we best love one another?' And 'How do we best love our neighbor,' a post on Saturday morning, March 14, from Denham on the church's Facebook page reads.

With these in mind, Life Church of the Nazarene decided to not meet Sunday, March 15.

"We will take this one week at a time," the church's Facebook post reads.

WARRENSBURG FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

The Warrensburg First Presbyterian Church, 206 N. College Ave., announced Saturday afternoon that it has canceled services for Sunday, March 15, and beyond.

"It is with a heavy heart that Session and I have determined together to cancel worship and all church activities for the foreseeable future," a Facebook post from Pastor Rev. Heather Jepsen on the churches Facebook page reads. "As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread throughout our country, the recommendation of doctors and scientists is that we all stay home as much as possible. I would hate for one of our members to inadvertently make another member sick at our church. And so, we are closing the building to all activities for the time being."

Starting on Sunday, Jepsen stated she will email out a worship service that members can do at home.

This will include reading, prayers and even suggested hymns that you might sing without accompaniment.

"God is with us even when we aren't at church," the Facebook post reads.

While they cannot meet in person, Jepsen still encouraged members to make contact with each other.

"Again I am sorry for the inconvenience of this situation," the Facebook post reads. "We are all treading in waters we have never seen before. But as I mentioned in worship last week, God goes with us into unknown and frightening places. The Lord is with us, even if we cannot be together."

NORTH SIDE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

Northside Christian Church, 500 N. Ridgeview Drive, Pastor Sid Tiller released a statement on Friday, March 13. Tiller stated the church would services on Sunday, March 15.

While many met in person, he did encourage others to worship via the service being streamed online.

"What a wonderful weekend of services we had. Although we had lower attendance on campus, we set a record in online worship," Tiller said in an updated statement on Monday, March 16.

Tiller stated the church implemented additional precautions as it pertains to cleaning and sanitizing the campus and also altered the method on how it distributeed communion and collected offering.

Till then said on Monday that the Senior Leadership Team unanimously agreed to suspended live worship at NCC indefinitely beginning Sunday, March 22.

He also stated the church would discontinue all regular weekly programming and special events until further notice.

"This was a difficult decision, but we believe God is leading us to do this for two primary reasons: One, doing so will protect the most vulnerable among us, which God consistently emphasizes in His word. If we continued our schedule unabated, many might get sick with mild or no symptoms, but some would perhaps be critically hospitalized or even perish. We cannot allow that possibility to occur; and Two, though we think it unlikely, it is entirely possible that no one would get sick at Northside. However, we would far rather overreact and be wrong than to underreact and regret it forever," Till stated.

He said the church will have a full worship service every weekend that will be livestreamed on Facebook, the church website and the church app app. If viewers have juice and bread, communion will be a part of the service.

"We encourage you to gather with those in your household and worship with us as we prepare for Easter," Tiller stated.

Beginning Wednesday, Tiller said he would record special devotionals for these uncertain times that will be available on the same platforms.

The church's Student and Children’s ministries will be providing resources for parents and children to learn and grow spiritually, together.

Despite the tightened concerned of the coronavirus spreading throughout the nation and the world, Tiller stated this was a good time for the church to be #FORTHEBURG, a campaign the church started in recent years.

For more information, call (660) 747-8632 or message the church through Facebook, email or the website.

WARRENSBURG FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH

After having church on Sunday, March 15, Warrensburg First Baptist Church, 1302 S. Maguire St., Lead Pastor and Elder Patrick Edwards stated church facilities would be closed to the public, barring exception, until April 1.

The church will host an online service at 10 a.m.

The service can be found on the church's website, Vimeo account or Facebook page.

Wednesday night gathering are canceled as well.

Edwards stated the ministry, mission and visual meeting of the church will not stop during this time period.

In a press release on Thursday, March 12, Edwards also reminded members they can contribute financially online as well.

"You can continue to contribute to the mission of God to make disciples of all peoples of the earth," he stated in a letter.

He also encouraged members to serve each other and ask for help as needed.

The church can be reached at (660) 747-9186.

WARRENSBURG CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

UPDATE: As of Sunday, March 22, the Warrensburg Church of the Brethren, 702 E. Hale Lake Road, will not gather on Sunday mornings for the traditional worship services. The community of faith will be informed about services on a week-by-week basis.

The church states persons are welcome to come to the sanctuary for a time of individual prayer from 10 to 11 a.m.

Pastors will prepare weekly meditations that will be sent out to the community of faith and pastors and Ddacons will continue to attend to the spiritual needs and nourishment of the congregation during this time.

The church will also encourage people to attend the online service, Living Stream Church of the Brethren at livingstreamcob.org/ Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. or view services at anytime through their archives.

HARVEST CHURCH

Harvest Church announced on Thursday, March 19, it made the decision to engage in social distancing through March 30.

The church has temporarily canceled all in-person services during this time.

It will have several live streaming lessons, interactions and even prayer and worship events.

The church will also have a full service live streaming at 9 a.m. Sunday mornings for the next two Sundays, March 23 and March 30.

WARRENSBURG FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

Given recent recommendations coming from leaders in the federal and local government, the Warrensburg Fist United Methodist Church’s administrative council states it has discerned it is important to take the following measures to ensure the safety of the congregation and do its part to slow the spread of the virus at First Warrensburg United Methodist Church.

FUMC states it will suspend in-person worship in favor of online worship at 9:30 a.m. on Sundays through April 1.

FUMC will also suspend all gatherings hosted at the church through April 1.

"Even though we are walking together through a season of physical isolation, we can stay connected to each other," the church states. "Even though we confront evil and death in our world, these things are overcome by the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter. We don’t have to give into cynicism. Jesus gives us reason for hope."

The church is asking everyone in the community to commit to doing three things during this season.

  1. Worship online once a week.
  2. Call one person every day in our community for encouragement and prayer.
  3. Pray for those who are most vulnerable in our community every day

The church is on Facebook at facebook.com/fumcburg.

*EDITOR'S NOTE: This report is as of 11 a.m. Saturday, March 21, and will be updated as new information becomes available.

Managing Editor of Digital Publishing Derek Brizendine can be reached by emailing derek.brizendine@dsjnow.com, by calling (660) 747-8123 or on Twitter at @DerekBrizendine.

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