‘Lord, we didn’t want to be in the news’
Evangelical preacher Bruce Wesley of Clear Creek Community Church in Texas, has spoken out after at least 125 of his congregation – including children – became infected with coronavirus following a student ministry camp that was reportedly mask-optional.
“Lord, we didn’t want to be in the news, at least not for this, maybe for serving or some extreme generosity, but not this,” he said. “So we ask for your mercy. We ask for your healing for all of those who became sick with this virus and for their families who’ve have been caring for them as well. We pray for complete recovery so that people don’t have any lingering effects, and we pray that you would put a stop to the spread of this virus.”
The church issued a statement last week saying that a second wave of infections was afflicting its congregation following the camp, which ended on 27 June.
Church services have been cancelled the last two weeks because of the COVID outbreak.
In addition to the 125 people who tested positive, “hundreds more were exposed to COVID-19 at camp,” Bruce Wesley, senior pastor for Clear Creek Community Church, wrote on the church’s website. The church is based in League City, about 30 miles southeast of Houston. “And hundreds of others were likely exposed when infected people returned home from camp.”
As of early May, masks were “optional in all areas,” according to the camp’s website. Telephone and email messages sent to the camp Tuesday evening were not immediately returned.
“From the beginning of the pandemic, we have sought to love our neighbors by practicing strict safety protocols,” Wesley said in the statement. “We are surprised and saddened by this turn of events. Our hearts break for those infected with the virus.”
In Illinois, 85 teenagers and adults tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a camp that did not check the vaccination records of participants or require masks indoors, the Illinois Department of Public Health said last month. At least 25 staffers at a Christian summer camp in Oklahoma tested positive for COVID-19 in June, Public Radio Tulsa reported.