Snow and ice hamper area church services

Monday, February 17, 2003

Snow and ice kept some Southeast Missouri churchgoers at home Sunday morning, as another winter storm made roads in the area slick and dangerous.

The Rev. Mike Parry, pastor of Fruitland Community Church in Fruitland, said the bad weather and icy roads forced the church to cancel its regular Sunday service.

However, the weather didn't stop the church from going ahead with a planned baptism for Marty Glenn, 17, of Jackson. Glenn is being shipped out today with the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army. He's bound first for Fort Benning, Ga., and then possibly the Middle East, Parry said.

"We just felt like we had to go up there and minister to him and his family, and we ended up having a little service," he said.

About 20 people attended, Parry said, including Glenn's family and some who knew the baptism was still taking place.

A winter storm dropped between an inch and 1 1/2 inches of sleet and ice on the Cape Girardeau area Sunday morning, said Jordan McCollum, metereologist with KFVS-12. By Sunday evening, the wintry mix had tapered off into flurries, and McCollum said he expected an inch or two of snowfall in Cape Girardeau.

Statewide, accumulations ranged from 2.2 inches at Lambert Field in St. Louis to 5 inches at Kirksville, Mo.

McCollum said Southern Illinois got the brunt of the winter storm in the area, with some parts of the state receiving up to 9 inches.

Holiday may help

Sgt. Rodney Barnes with the Jackson Police Department said that despite the bad roads, police hadn't seen many weather-related accidents.

"We're really glad people decided to stay home," he said.

Barnes said the Presidents Day holiday today would help reduce the danger of accidents this morning because fewer people might be traveling to work and school.

"That will help, but people going to work are still really going to need to watch it," he said.

The icy road conditions put safety of churchgoers first in the minds of Parry and other area pastors.

"We just felt it wasn't safe for everyone to try and come out," Parry said.

The Rev. Terry Eades, pastor of First Baptist Church Scott City, said he knew he should cancel services after he went outside at 6 a.m. Sunday morning to see what the roads were like and slipped and fell.

"I came back into my house and started calling people," he said.

Eades said he felt it was just dangerous to have people on the roads.

"They're traversable if you're careful, but it's not worth taking a chance on your life," he said.

Morning and evening services were also canceled at First Baptist Church of Jackson.

Monsignor Edward Eftink of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Jackson estimated church attendance Sunday morning to be about 40 or 50 percent less than normal. He said some churchgoers anticipated the bad weather and chose to attend the 5 p.m. Saturday service instead.

The bad weather did keep some in the congregation home, especially those who had to travel back roads, he said. "That's understandable," he said. "It wasn't a good day to travel."

The Rev. Ron Watts, pastor of La Croix United Methodist Church in Cape Girardeau, said attendance at the church's Saturday evening service was average, but Sunday morning's attendance was down.

Ryan Garnett, 22, said his normal 5-minute trip to St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church in Cape Girardeau took him 15 minutes.

"I was babying it," Garnett said. "I was taking no chances."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

335-6611, extension 197

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