West Mobile church returns to online-only service following illness spike

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The staff of a west Mobile church makes a tough call–to once again temporarily suspend in-person service as COVID-19 spread through the congregation. The parking lot at First Baptist Tillmans Corner is virtually empty for a service that can attract hundreds of people a week.

“Know that this is real, it’s here, it’s spreading now in our local community,” said First Baptist Tillmans Corner Lead Pastor Derek Allen via a Zoom interview. Lead Pastor Derek Allen said they started to see staff members either test positive or just develop COVID symptoms.

“By the time we saw this getting to 10, 11, 12 people, we knew something was happening,” said Allen. It was the kind of spike they were expecting in March or April that never arrived for them. It was a tough call to go back to online service but it’s a new challenge.

“Even though we can’t have church in person that doesn’t mean we’ve retreated we can still do what God calls us to do,” said Allen. Returning to in-person service will take time.

“We want to hear that this is not increasing in our church anymore, it doesn’t mean we don’t have cases here and there but we want to see the spread stop, that’s what we’re really looking for,” said Allen. The pastor says he hopes other congregations can learn from their experience

“What’s best for your church may not be best for others but you need to know what’s happening in your community and don’t be afraid to make the decision when you need to make the decision.”

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