The CDC and Gov. Roy Cooper have warned against large groups of people as the COVID-19 outbreak spreads, prompting many religious groups within the Triangle and Sandhills to halt services or take precautions.
Catholic Diocese of Raleigh
The Catholic Diocese of Raleigh said that based on Cooper,'s directive, Bishop Luis Zarama is "waiving the obligation for the faithful to attend Sunday Mass" but is not issuing a diocesan-wide cancellation of all Masses.
Zarama asked the congregation to follow the guidance of public health professionals and to stay home from Mass or work or any public space if you are sick or are experiencing "symptoms of sickness."
"The celebration of the Eucharist is the life and foundation of our Church," Zarama wrote in explaining his decision not to cancel all Masses. "As priests, we are obligated to celebrate the Eucharist just as we are obligated to be joyful shepherds and servants of the faithful. My brother priests and I will continue celebrating Mass in union with our Lord. We welcome the faithful with the understanding that, in the interest of their own health and that of their brothers and sisters, many may not be able to join with us in prayer during this time."
Zarama also said public health officials are not recommending closures of K-12 schools at this time.
North Carolina United Methodist Church
In an effort to protect the church and family members, the North Carolina United Methodist will be suspending service for two weeks.
"I urge you to cease public worship and other gatherings in your church through the next two weeks in order to protect your church family and the community in which you live and serve," said Bishop of North Carolina Hope Ward.
Bishop Paul Leeland, the Resident Bishop of the Western North Carolina, also urged the same request for churches in Western North Carolina.
One of the largest mega-churches in Raleigh announced Thursday evening that it will be directing worship to online-only starting this weekend.
The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina
After receiving word from officials from the Episcopal Church, the North Carolina Episcopal Church will be closed for two weeks starting March 15 and will reopen on March 30.
"The sooner we implement more extreme measures to limit contact, the better chance we have of "flattening the curve" of how the disease spreads," the Diocese wrote.
In the meantime, the church asks members to tune in to services online including Zoom and Facebook Live.
Manna Church will not be suspending service but will be taking the word online in an effort to keep its congregation safe.
Earlier Thursday, Manna said it planned to offer hand sanitizers and other measures for church services, but later made the decision to go online only.
Services at 8:15 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., and 12:30 p.m. on Sunday will be livestreamed from the Cliffdale Site. All physical locations will be closed.
"Everything we've done has been to and are kind of common-sense steps to make sure people are safe and comfortable. If they don't feel safe or comfortable, they should stay home. They should follow the guidance of officials and medical professionals," said Chris Fletcher, lead pastor.
The Summit Church
In a Thursday afternoon news release, the Summit Church will not meet for gatherings on March 14 and 15. Services can instead be viewed via livestream on Facebook, YouTube and the church's website.
"Canceling these services was a very difficult decision for us, but we have been guided by two principles: honoring our governing officials, who have urged extreme caution, and loving our neighbors, many of whom, like the elderly or those with prior medical conditions, are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19."
Raleigh Diocese not canceling Mass; NC Methodist Church, Episcopal Diocese suspend service for 2 weeks