Local faith leaders say COVID-19 struggles can lead to spiritual strengthening

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The COVID-19 crisis is taking a toll on all aspects of life.

The coronavirus is not only testing physical, mental and emotional strength, but many people of faith are also finding it challenging their spiritual strength.

The familiar sounds of Sunday have gone silent, leaving most preachers in empty churches, listening only to the hollow echoes of their own voices.

Empty pews at Second Baptist Church in Memphis are leaving many feeling a sense of emptiness.

“I am hearing from people, and I think this is quite natural is a sense of fear and anxiety, a kind of uncertainty about what all of this means and about how we respond,” said Stephen Cook, pastor at Second Baptist.

Most churches are responding online, by phone and by text with scripture, faith and a constant reminder of hope for tomorrow.

Cook said the situation can be an opportunity to strengthen faith.

“God will continue to abide with us, and God will continue to go with us, and we will be able to come through this better, stronger, together,” Cook said.

Pastor Jason Turner tries to pass along the same message at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church.

“A challenging time for those trying to share the faith, live by faith and keep the faith,” Turner said.

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