120 attended in-person Easter service with social distancing, church said

Mycah Hatfield Image
Sunday, April 12, 2020
120 attended in-person Easter service, church said
While most sanctuaries were empty on one of the most holy days of the year, at least one had congregants in person.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- While most houses of worship were empty on Easter Sunday, a number of churches proceeded with in-person services.

Approximately 120 people attended one of two services at Glorious Way Church Sunday morning in the Champions Point area of north Harris County.

An associate pastor there told ABC13 that they felt they wouldn't be able to fully serve their congregation by streaming their services online-only.

Glorious Way's plans for Easter services were reviewed by fire marshals earlier this week, the pastor said. Those plans included changes to how attendees entered and exited the building, as well as the sanctuary.

Easter Sunday was a little different at this church as social distancing procedures were explained ahead of the beginning of early services on Easter Sunday.

RELATED: Coronavirus presents challenge for churches on Easter Sunday

Some pews were removed from the facility to allow more distance between congregants.

Easter Sunday is one of the most holy days of the year for Christians, as it celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo amended her stay-at-home order to shadow Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asking people to stay at home with an exemption for places of worship during the coronavirus crisis.

Glorious Way further outlined its social distancing methods in the sanctuary and the reason for the in-person services on its website.

The church's statement read in part:

"Being commanded to worship only from home or in small groups for an indefinite period of time violates our rights to free exercise of religion and to peaceably assemble. These rights are ensured in the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution and under the Texas Constitution Article 1, Sec. 6. We complied with the stay-home order for the first 15 days, but at some point, further compliance violates the scriptural mandates above. That time is now. We are operating legally under the Texas Governor's stay-home order which allows churches to assemble in person so long as they follow distancing measures. This order supersedes the one issued by the Harris County Judge, which does not allow it. We have joined a lawsuit which will clarify this issue for all churches going forward, not just for this emergency, but for any future emergency which government may declare. Governments can be corrupted, and freedom not exercised is freedom lost."

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