Miracle Missionary Baptist Church has met only a few times since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The church even lost pastor Rev. Eddie Hunter to COVID-19 but the mission remains the same — to serve the community.

Miracle Missionary Baptist Church treasurer Velma Moore said the church partnering with Church Alive for a drive up COVID-19 testing site was meant to be.

“Rev. Hunter would have wanted this,” Moore said. “It serves the community. Because of him, it has an extra special meaning to me.”

Moore said Hunter contracted the virus after a meeting in Chambers County but did not go back to the pulpit after the meeting. She said she has learned detecting the virus early is crucial.

“If you have symptoms, you need to be tested for it,” Moore said. “It is something you definitely want to quickly seek treatment for.”

Carefield Ventures is the umbrella organization for Church Alive. Director of business development Darcell Streeter believes the partnership with Miracle Missionary Baptist Church was fate.

“We are blessed to partner with them,” Streeter said. “It is a great blessing considering the loss of their pastor.”

Streeter said Church Alive does more than just COVID-19 testing. The organization does health education and other types of testing for diagnosis such as diabetes and likes to partner with churches to serve their congregation and beyond.

Friday’s testing was open to anyone in the community whether they had symptoms or not. Streeter said some are reluctant to come forward for testing.

“There is a taboo there,” Streeter said. “If you test positive, some think there is a stigma. Many believe if they test positive it will be made public. It goes to their fear about what people will think about them if they test positive.”

Moore hopes people will not buy into the stigma of being chastised for being tested for COVID-19, much less testing positive.

“This thing is very serious,” Moore said. “Almost everyone knows someone affected by it. The numbers are going up. Why wouldn’t you want to get tested?”

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.