“The whole church has got it, just about,” Daryl Ross, pastor of The Warrior Creek Missionary Baptist Church, who also tested positive, told AL.com.
The church leader says only two members have serious cases of the virus. The church is located in Strawberry, about 60 miles northeast of Birmingham, and typically has between 80 and 100 congregants at Sunday services.
“We had church Wednesday night. We were in revival, morning and night services,” Ross said. “On the way back, on Thursday, is when we found out. I got a call that one of our guys in the church has tested positive. So, we shut down revival and, by Friday night, I’ve got church members sick everywhere.”
The church had a visiting evangelist, who has not tested positive, holding revival services and they halted services after it was learned one member had tested positive for COVID-19.
Although that member was asymptomatic, he was tested after three coworkers got the virus, according to the pastor.
Over the weekend, dozens more of the revival service attendees started to show symptoms, Ross said.
“We knew what we were getting into. We knew the possibilities," the pastor said. "But, my goodness, man, for three days we had one of the old-time revivals. It was unbelievable. And everybody you ask, if you talk to our church members right now, they’d tell you we’d do it again. It was that good.”
Although most of the congregation didn't come because of the virus those who did practiced social distancing. Masks, though, were not required.
“We let everybody do what they felt like,” he said. “If you were comfortable shaking hands, you shook hands. If you didn’t, you didn’t.”