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Amid coronavirus concerns, Texas Baptist stays open while catholic churches cancel mass

"The church will be open. It will always be open because there's a need," Pastor Keith Bell said.

SAN ANTONIO — Many church parking lots across San Antonio were empty on Sunday. 

Officials with the Archdiocese of San Antonio are suspending public mass in all churches beginning March 14, "except for small groups at the discretion of the pastor." Some churches of other denominations are following suit. 

Pastor Keith Bell doesn't plan on closing the doors to Texas Baptist Church. 

"The church will be open," Pastor Bell said. "It will always be open because there's a need. People need to be loved."

Pastor Bell said the church has about 200 members. While fewer filled the rows on Sunday, it was a typical day for the folks who showed up.

"If I was at home, what would I be doing? I'd be sitting on the couch watching TV," said Mike Rull, who's attended the church for three years. "When I'm here, I'm surrounded by my family and friends. We're able to cut up and have fun like a normal Sunday."

Pastor Bell said they're taking the necessary precautions to stay safe. Along with practicing good hygiene, they've done a deep clean of the church. Some church members are also choosing to elbow tap or fist bump when they greet one another. 

Pastor Bell said the church serves as a safe haven. At a time when so many people are fearful, he said it's even more important they have a place to go. 

"The bible says, 'when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I,'" Pastor Bell said. 

Pastor Bell said all are welcome to attend Texas Baptist Church, especially if their current church is closed for the time being. 

Texas Baptist Church is located at 458 Lanark Drive in San Antonio. For more information on services, click here

RELATED: List: Worship services canceled due to coronavirus

RELATED: Archdiocese of San Antonio suspends public mass services, all Catholic schools

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