The letter from Tony Stevens ("Church put parishioners at risk," May 24) clearly goes out of its way to make a Decatur church and Pastor Bradshaw look as though they don't care about the safety of their congregation.
The author goes on to imply that the reason for the church service was to receive donations that would benefit the pastor. He finally suggests that the church itself placed a call to the city manager's office for publicity and to assist the pastor to "make a name for himself."
Knowing this pastor and this church as I do, I can state emphatically that these claims are both irresponsible and outright false. They also exhibit a level of ignorance of individual will and desire to return to some level of normalcy and of the continued struggle of churches to survive in the face of legislative attacks by this state's highest office.
Pastor Bradshaw and his church donate time and money to care for the sick, elderly and needy not just in their own congregation but in the entire Decatur community. They do so despite "donations" and almost always without recognition or positive feedback from the city or its officials.
The 130 parishioners that this author claims are at risk attended because they wanted to. The pastor even took steps to minimize any risk by creating space in the service consistent with social distancing guidelines which limited the number of parishioners that could worship inside. Did the author bother to check?
Finally, the alleged call to the city manager did not come from this pastor or his church. Given the governor's overreach and promise to cite those that defy his "edict," it's more likely it came from someone that did not want to see this church reopen than one that did.
Steve Thompson, Dunlap
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