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Local churches decide whether or not to hold in-person services

With shelter in place bans lifted across the city now, places of worship are addressing how they plan to move forward.

Posted: May 11, 2020 10:18 AM
Updated: May 11, 2020 10:19 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) On the first weekend of church service since the end of shelter in place orders, congregations are deciding how best to move forward with gatherings.

"This is going to be really good to be with our family again and be able to socialize," Father Steven Hansen from Cathedral of St. Joseph said.

Churches across town each having different approaches to how they will return, some saying they're ready to hold services in their sanctuaries once again.

"I know everybody is looking forward to being able to be together again," Frederick Boulevard Baptist Church Pastor Scott Gilbert said.

Hansen says his church has put in lots of precautionary measures to keep churchgoers safe.

"They'll be going to pews socially distanced apart with the help of ushers who will be wearing masks and gloves," Hansen said. "The cathedral can accommodate 115 people spaced apart six feet. Each will have hand sanitizing stations within the cathedral and different pews will be roped off."

Not every church will be open to in-person services immediately, across town the Gilbert says he feels more comfortable waiting.

"At Frederick we're taking a slow process we recognize that there's a lot of people that would typically gather for corporate worship service," Gilbert said. "we are actually going to wait until the beginning of June to start meeting together."

Because they know times are still uncertain, leaders of both churches say they're not expecting everyone to return right away.

"Even when we're able to gather again some of our folks won't be able to," Gilbert said. 

In fact they're even urging some of their congregation to stay home.

"Those who are not feeling well who are over age sixty who are compromised in health or elderly should exercise prudence and caution and really stay home," Hansen said. 

Church leaders say they're not worried about their congregation's faith, they say for many it's grown in this time apart.

"God is ever-present, in this case the common good and the social distancing is what's best for them," Hansen said.

Both church leaders said the pandemic has made livestreaming services more popular. They plan to continue those services for those who are not able to attend in-person services.

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