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Churches in the Thick of COVID-19 Fight: AL Church Sets Up Testing Site, SC Pastor's Wife Stricken by Virus

The Church of the Highlands, Grant Mills campus, located in Birmingham, AL. (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Church of the Highlands)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a megachurch in Birmingham, AL is partnering with a local health center to provide coronavirus drive-thru testing at one of the church's campuses.

The Church of the Highlands in association with Christ Health Center is offering COVID-19 drive-thru testing at its Grant Mills campus located at 4700 Highlands Way. 

In addition to the CDC guidelines, the church also posted three points to their website on what Christians can do to help during the outbreak.

Most notable were these two reminders: 

  • Pray for our community and those directly affected by COVID-19. Pray for the health care workers who are treating the sick and those public health administrators making difficult decisions. Pray that God would protect our community from further spread of the virus.
  • Reflect Christ. In these anxious days, the church (all of us) can shine as a light of hope, care, faith, patience, and prudence. We can demonstrate to the world how our faith provides true assurance against worry and fear.

Founded in 2001 by Senior Pastor Chris Hodges, the Church of the Highlands operates 21 different campus locations in Alabama.

Even as one church works to help with the health care response to the outbreak, another church has been hit by it. 

Pastor Kim Strong of Trinity United Methodist Church located in Conway, SC, took his wife Margo to the emergency room of a local hospital Tuesday morning thinking she had the flu, according to myhorrynews.com. They both thought they had caught the flu from a member of their church about a week earlier. 

After testing, doctors told Strong his wife has COVID-19 in addition to a blood clot, viral pneumonia, and sepsis. 

"She's in isolation in the hospital with what the doctors told us was COVID-19," Strong told the website on Wednesday. "She'll probably be in isolation through the rest of this week." 

"Since we have absolutely no idea how we are sick, that's one of the questions my wife kept asking me yesterday, 'Where in the world did we get this?'" he continued. "Because we don't know anyone who's carrying this virus. That's the scary part about this virus."

Strong is now in self-quarantine, according to myhorrynews.com. He has served as a minister for 41 years and has preached all over the state of South Carolina. He told the website that he and his wife have been added to prayer lists in all of the churches he has previously pastored. 

“We’re fully relying on God today,” he told the website. 

Strong's church announced Margo's illness on the congregation's Facebook page, asking for prayers and for all church members to shelter in place.

"The Covid-19 has hit close to home. Our pastor's wife, Margo Strong, was diagnosed this afternoon with the virus. Both Margo and Pastor Kim have been battling the flu and she took a turn in the night. She was taken to a local hospital this morning and diagnosed with a blood clot in her lung, sepsis and viral pneumonia. She was tested for the virus and this afternoon confirmed for Covid-19. I ask that you include her in your prayers that she will be healed and that Pastor Kim will remain healthy. Everyone, please shutter in place!" the church wrote. 

"Pray for the leadership of our nation, our states, and local authorities, and please help the most vulnerable. A little common sense and sacrifice will not hurt any of us," the post concluded. 

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