CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Churches in Indiana were permitted to reopen their doors for in-person service Friday. However, some congregations decided to leave their pews empty for now.
For more than a month, pastors and parishioners have been forced to adapt, by streaming their weekly worship online. Now in Indiana, churches have the choice to bring the congregation back in.
“We are very excited because one of the great experiences of being a part of the church is close fellowship,” said Tito Pel, the Senior Minister at Moores Hill Church of Christ on State Road 350.
Pel plans to have a church service this Sunday following all of the governor’s guidelines. Those include increasing cleaning and encouraging everyone to wear a mask.
Pet has also marked the seating to keeping families six feet apart.
“Our auditorium can actually only handle about 120-130 people, and with the marks on the pews six feet apart, we realized we can only have about 30 people,” said Pel.
They are now adding three services in the morning to accommodate the full congregation, but people over 65 years old who are considered high risk are encouraged to stay home.
Although Indiana churches have the green light to open, the Episcopal Bishops in Indiana put out a statement saying in part: “We remain committed to doing everything we can to slow the spread of the pandemic. For that reason, we will not be reopening our church buildings for in-person worship this month.”
Gary Taylor, the Parish Life Coordinator at St. Charles Catholic Church in Milan, says they will be following those guidelines.
“For the well-being of the mature, who are the heart of our church, it’s probably a good thing, because they would come back to church immediately this Sunday, and they desire to come back," Taylor said. “They love the sacrament but at the same time they are not most at risk and that’s the major concern.”