Updated: July 29, 2021 09:58 PM
Created: July 29, 2021 09:45 PM
Wednesday night, the St. John's United Church of Christ board had an emergency meeting and unanimously decided the Madeline Island church should go back to online services only.
"They really discerned that for the safety of our community, it makes sense to move to online worship," Pastor Rachel Bauman said.
She said there are a handful of cases on the island, and even a small amount feels significant in a small community.
"I feel like our role is always for every church and particularly St. John's and Madeline Island, I mean, our mission is to care for this community. And we do that in all kinds of ways," Bauman said. "Some of that is providing spiritual support...and one of the most important things is to do what we can to keep people safe."
Ashland County Health Officer Liz Scot said they are not monitoring an outbreak on Madeline Island, but she said cases have risen across the county as a whole over the past week.
Szot said from about mid-June to mid-July, Ashland County didn't record any cases. But in the past 7-10 days, they've reported 15. She said that's a pretty significant jump after having no cases for so many weeks. They are doing contact tracing work for people who test positive.
It's a bummer for St. John's, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. But Pastor Bauman said they are resilient.
"Our board has decided to meet weekly because as it has been, this is a really fluid situation. And so we'll respond in real time," she said. "The safety of our community of course comes first."
The online service will happen at 10 a.m. every Sunday starting Aug. 1.
The church also opted to:
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