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Mississippi pastor sees significant jump in funerals

Pastor Bartholomew Orr is urging for people to have a safe Thanksgiving this year after holding significantly more funerals than in 2019.

SOUTHAVEN, Mississippi — A Mississippi pastor is seeing a big increase in funerals this year during the COVID-19 pandemic.   

His message to the community? Follow health directives, including holding safe Thanksgiving dinners.   

Pastor Bartholomew Orr has held funerals for families that have seen multiple deaths. 

Now he’s urging others to practice safe distancing in order to cut down on transmission.   

“One of the things we have seen since last year is pretty much a 50% increase in what we have had last year in deaths,” said Orr, the pastor of Brown Missionary Baptist Church in Southaven.   

Orr said not all the deaths are because of COVID-19, some are other illnesses and accidents.  

However, it’s a noticeable jump.  

“We’ve lost some sweet faithful members that we have lost this year and it’s just you know lord give me something so that I can encourage this family at this particular time they find themselves in,” said Orr.   

The other week Orr preached two separate funerals – one was a double funeral, a father and daughter.    

He led 51 funerals in 2019 and 77 in 2020 so far.  

“With all of our numbers indicating that this pandemic is going up, it is really upon each one of us to do our part as a community to help flatten the curve.”  

Orr now is encouraging his congregation, and others, to practice health and safety guidelines, especially during Thanksgiving dinner.   

“My family is actually doing a Zoom Thanksgiving and so just want to encourage people use the virtual options, get creative.”

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