A reader contacted me a few days ago about FloodGate Church in Brighton, located on Old U.S. 23, south of Hyne Road, holding regular, in-person services in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and the shutdown of everything in Michigan not deemed “essential.”
While churches are exempted in Michigan’s COVID-19 Stay Home, Stay Safe shutdown, that doesn’t mean they have to hold in-person services; they can also choose to stream services, or not hold services at all.
My church-going friends have been attending streamed services in the safety of their homes. Their churches are among the larger, more well-known in the community. Since I hadn’t heard of FloodGate before, I figured it might be a new church, or one that lacked the resources and know-how to stream services.
But a visit to the church website shows that not only is it technologically adept, but streaming services is a regular thing.
So, why take a chance during this global pandemic?
FloodGate’s Pastor Bill Bolin — who subscribes to a theory that the Joe Biden campaign rally in Detroitl on March 9 brought COVID-19 to Michigan — appears to like playing the odds: “What I know is that if you live in Livingston County, you are really safe,” Bolin wrote on Facebook. “Right now, your chance of contracting COVID-19 in Livingston County is 1 in 0.05 percent, and your chance of dying from the disease here is 0.001 percent. I realize that the statistical data changes daily. My answer to that is Livingston County has remained steady for weeks, even with new testing for evidence of infections.”
“It doesn’t take great faith to realize that the odds are in your favor even if you followed no safety standards.”
Now, I don’t know if Bolin’s statistical analysis is accurate. What I do know is that according to the Livingston County Health Department, as of this writing, we currently have 174 cases of COVID-19, 29 hospitalizations, and two deaths. For my comfort, those are 174 cases, 29 hospitalizations and two deaths too many to justify rolling the dice on in-person Sunday services.
The best precaution to keep people safe is to not gather them together under any circumstances. Bolin acknowledges that: “You can tune in at www.floodgatechurch.com/live and watch FloodGate live with our online audience. This also applies to those who are concerned about being contaminated. It is not a lack of faith to stay home.”
I will repeat Bolin’s words: “It is not a lack of faith to stay home.”
So, just stay home.