Pandemic fear: Church to apologize for funeral refusal


In this undated self-made photo, Noel Alexander is seen in the hospital in Louisiana. Alexander had helped build Pine Hill Baptist Church in west-central Louisiana. He’d been its music minister, served on numerous committees and he and his wife kept the church’s books. After he died from COVID-19 at age 79, his visitation and funeral were scheduled for the church he loved. But his family said that when they arrived, they were told they couldn’t hold either the visitation or the funeral in the spacious building currently used for services because of the pandemic. Pastor Tri Evans says the church voted recently to apologize and create a new fund in Alexander’s honor. (Noel Alexander via AP)

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Noel Alexander had helped build the church. He’d been its music minister and served on numerous committees.

After he died from COVID-19 at age 79, the minister had approved holding his visitation and funeral there. But the minister was out of town.

When the first family member arrived at the church’s gymnasium-sized living center, two church officials told her neither Alexander’s body nor his family could come in for visitation or the funeral the following day.

Pastor Tri Evans says “there was a lot of fear.”

He says the church voted Sunday to apologize and create a new fund in Alexander’s honor.

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