PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Pastor Kimberly Scott will be leading Sunday's prayer service at Phoenix's Cross Roads United Methodist Church, but concerns over the coronavirus will have parishioners keeping their distance.
"We are a loving people, we hug, we handshake, and so we will be doing some elbow bumps as opposed to making physical contact in that way," said Scott.
Churches, temples and mosques across the Phoenix area are now taking extra precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just announced it's suspending all public gatherings worldwide due to coronavirus concerns. Other churches are postponing services as well.
Ashley Wooldridge is senior pastor of Christ’s Church of the Valley, which has 10 campuses and 35,000 members. They decided this week to encourage home worship and will not be having their large community services for at least two weeks.
"What we're told is that big gatherings, large gatherings are the highest risk of spreading it," said Wooldridge. "We're the largest church in our state, and one of largest in the country, and so we just felt like it was our responsibility to help not spread the virus."
A number of religious groups do offer their worship services online, making it easier for members to pray without coming into contact with a potential coronavirus patient. Linda Leroux isn't worried about getting sick and plans to be in church on Sunday.
"I'm not gonna live in a bubble," said Leroux. "I don't think closing down and doing a panic right now should happen. I plan on being here."