Wayne Moak isn’t sure who first brought the coronavirus into the congregation at Clear Branch Baptist Church in rural Wesson, Mississippi, but when it got there in late September, “it spread fast,” he told The Daily Beast.
Within weeks, more than two dozen members of the congregation were sick, including Moak, his wife, son, and all three other staff members, he recalled.
Of course, this was exactly the scenario he’d been hoping to avoid when the church decided, in the early days of the pandemic, to set up his pulpit on the bed of a 20-foot trailer and conduct parking lot services. But that arrangement was short-lived. By June, with businesses around the state reopening and midday temperatures cracking 90 degrees, the decision to go toward air conditioning was met with little controversy.