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Henrico church celebrates 200th anniversary, plans for reopening

Posted at 7:34 PM, May 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-09 21:03:09-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A Henrico church celebrated its bicentennial Saturday while maintaining social distancing amid the COVID-19 global health pandemic.

Second Baptist Church, located off River Road, celebrated its 200th anniversary with a drive-thru parade that encouraged congregants to donate to the church's food bank.

Pastor Noel Schoonmaker said the day was an example of how the church has adapted to the COVID-19 restrictions as they plan for phase one of Gov. Ralph Northam's Forward Virginia reopening plan.

As of Friday, May 15, churches may hold services limited to no more than 50 percent of their facility's lowest occupancy capacity. Social distancing must also be maintained by those in attendance.

"Our hope is that we would be able to do it well, rather than be able to do it super fast," Schoonmaker said. "We're studying up as best we can. We're going to try to make the best plan that we can make to enable people to come back to church in person, but also to do so in a way that's safe and loving."

The church's original bicentennial celebration has been pushed back to September, four months after the church's official founding date in 1820.