Holly Hill church undergoing renovations to prevent spread of COVID-19

Updated: Mar. 24, 2021 at 2:21 PM EDT
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HOLLY HILL, S.C. (WCSC) - While some churches have resumed indoors services, others are preparing to reopen later this year.

A church in Holly Hill is undergoing some major renovations to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Greater Unity AME Church hasn’t held indoor services since the pandemic began. However, they’ve been offering services virtually, on the radio and through porch worship. It’s a service where people can worship from their cars from the parking lot of the church.

The bishop overseeing AME churches in South Carolina has instructed churches to remain closed to keep people safe.

Greater Unity AME Church Pastor Rev. Randolph Miller says they are preparing to hold indoor services in six months now that vaccinations are underway.

“You’ve got to be safe, even though we do have our faith and we do believe in God,” Miller said. “The bishop said we must be safe and let’s make sure that you wash your hands, wear your mask, social distancing, get vaccinated. So that when this thing does die down, we can come back together and still being safe.”

Miller says they’ve decided to do a complete renovation that includes new carpet and flooring, a new AC unit and new layout that allows for social distancing.

They’re also getting new technology to view scriptures and hymns on a projector. They’re removing all the bibles and hymn books from the back of the pews to help prevent the spread of the virus.

When we go back into the church...we can’t really sit together so we’re going to have to decide how we’re going to space the church and we may have to go to more than one service,” Miller said.

He says they’re also reducing the choir size and will have the church disinfected when the renovations are complete.

He says church members are looking forward to returning.

“It has been very difficult for some of the members, they will call and they will say, ‘Pastor, I miss you so much, I know I can see you on Facebook Live and on Zoom,’” Miller said. “They said it’s just not the same as being in person, being able to shake your hand.”

The church is planning to resume services the first Sunday in September. They will be requiring masks and performing temperatures checks.

Across town in Holly Hill, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church Shaun Daley says they resumed in-person services May of last year.

“I think us having our doors open has provided some stability in people’s lives when there’s so much uncertainly,” Daley said. “Us just being able to be here saying you can come here when you like if you feel ready, we’re here.”

He says it’s worked for them to reopen.

“By God’s grace we have not had any outbreaks here,” Daley said.

First Baptist Church also provides radio and virtual service options for those who aren’t ready to return in-person.

While these churches have different approaches when it comes to their reopening measures, they’ve also been working together in the community. First Baptist Church has assisted Great Unity AME Church with their food distribution efforts.

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