'Heartbreaking': Texas church cancels kids event after 80 test positive for COVID-19 at youth camp

Children dance at the Vineyard Church in Mishawaka, Indiana.
Children dance at the Vineyard Church in Mishawaka, Indiana. | Unsplash/Anna Earl

A Texas church network has announced that it is canceling a children’s camp event after around 80 participants of an earlier youth camp event tested positive for COVID-19.

South Texas District Church of the Nazarene, which is made up of around 100 congregations, had originally scheduled its Kid’s Camp for July 19-23.

However, the church group posted a statement on its Facebook page announcing the cancellation. It cited “over 80 COVID cases that can be traced directly to our STX Youth Camp held last week, July 5-9.”

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“That number has grown daily for six consecutive days. That number includes several who were vaccinated and still became ill with the COVID virus,” explained STDC.

“As much as we believe in the great value of Kid's Camp, we do not want to see a similar situation happen next week that will negatively impact our churches and families.”

The statement went on to add that the positive cases caused many difficulties for member churches and forced many pastors to quarantine rather than preach on Sunday.

“This is heartbreaking for so many of us. Our camps provide a place for God to do amazing things in the lives of every child and adult who attends. May the Lord help us to speak His love and truth into their lives in other ways in this season,” the STDC continued.

“Please pray for the speedy recovery for every person from our Youth Camp that has become sick with the COVID virus. Please pray that the spread of the virus will slow, even cease, so that our churches and friends are able to minister and live freely.”

Terri Barnett, director of children’s ministry at Bryan Church of the Nazarene, told local media outlet KBTX that she was “really glad that our district took it upon themselves to make the hard decisions.”

“I struggled, was going back and forth watching the positive cases,” said Barnett. “My pastor and I both were concerned obviously, and didn’t want to disappoint the kids but also wanted to keep everyone safe.”

“We just won’t have to worry so much about it. We can mitigate some of the risk factors so more people are vaccinated, and that more people have taken on some responsibility to get that done.”

Earlier this month, Bruce Wesley, lead pastor of Clear Creek Community Church, a multi-campus megachurch headquartered in League City, Texas, confirmed that around 120 people who attended a student ministry camp tested positive for COVID-19.

“More than 125 people reported to the church that they tested positive for COVID-19 after camp. And all who were sick came home and exposed their families to COVID,” explained Wesley in a statement posted on Independence Day.

“I’m aware of a number of families where everyone got sick after camp and obviously, that’s horrible. That breaks our hearts.”

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