Church makes changes due to flu

May 3, 2009 4:53:31 PM PDT
People all over Houston are taking extra precautions with the emergence of H1N1 virus. [SWINE FLU: Symptoms, questions and answers and more]
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Schools aren't the only institutions taking steps to stop it from spreading. The flu has also changed the way a church is conducting business. Houston's First Baptist Church has stopped the traditional Sunday morning handshake.

"We've asked our greeters not to welcome people with handshakes, but with warm smiles and encouraging words," said Steven Murray with First Baptist Church.

Concerns about spreading the H1N1 virus, known as the swine flu, has the church making a few changes.

"It's very difficult, especially when you're trying to be kind and reach out to people," said church member Shelley Steelman.

But Steelman is glad to make those changes.

"During our worship service greeting time we're asking people to say hello and to have a seat," Murray said.

Hand sanitizer is also prominently placed around the church as a reminder of good hygiene and a safegaurd.

"It is hard to break habits, to extend a hand on Sunday morning and some of them feel it might be a little overreacting but we're just being precautious," Murray said.

Cautious seems to be the new buzz word.

"I did put the hand sanitizer in the car for the three kids to squirt every time we might be somewhere in public places," Steelman said. "But I'm just trying to be a little bit more cautious all the way around."

Swine flu may have these church goers changing their ways, but it certainly hasn't changed their faith.

"The proverb says discernment will protect you and understanding will guard you," Murray explained.

Another church in the area is also making preparations because of the virus. Atascocita United Methodist Church is shutting down its weekday learning center until May 15th.

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