Churches reopen for in-person worship

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Sunday, October 18, 2020
Lakewood Church holds first in-person service in months
ABC13's TJ Parker got a first look at how the church prepared for worshipers ahead of the first Sunday of in-person services in months.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Lakewood Church, the mega-chapel in Houston that can hold as many as 16,800 people for services, opened Sunday to worshipers.

The congregation led by Pastor Joel Osteen was limited to 25% capacity, or about 4,200 people.

In a video message last month, Osteen said worshipers must sign up before services on the church website. Attendees are required to practice safe social distancing.

Steve Vandall was one of the early arrivals for the first day worshipers were allowed to return to services Sunday morning at Lakewood.

Osteen's church, like many others across the Houston area, has led online worship on Sundays since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The church memorably held its Easter worship event with Osteen, other worship leaders, and Lakewood's musicians in the empty chapel, along with a prerecorded performance by Mariah Carey.

SEE MORE: Lakewood Church hosts online Easter Sunday special

The announcement comes after Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner allowed the return of special events with the 25% capacity limit and strict guidelines, such as social distancing, mask requirements and a temperature check at entrance.

RELATED: Houston mayor approves return of events, but with limits