As the Holcomb administration was issuing guidance for churches and places of worship to slow the spread of COVID-19, at least one Indiana pastor says anyone holding an in-person service this Easter weekend is doing a disservice to their congregation.
At his daily virtual media briefing, Governor Eric Holcomb praised faith leaders who used “safe and creative ways to serve their communities” but he also noted that the Executive order limiting gatherings to ten of less also applied to houses of worship.
Meanwhile, in a conversation with Indy Politics, Pastor Raymond Dix of Pilgrim Baptist Church in Ft. Wayne chastised those leaders who were potentially endangering their congregations by meeting in person this Sunday, saying we’re just doing it prove they were more faithful than others, and by potentially exposing their congregations to COVID-19, they were following the Christian principle of loving thy neighbor.
You can hear Pastor Dix, as well as Governor Holcomb and members of his administration, in the Leon-Tailored audio above.
Gov. Holcomb’s executive order 20-18 states all public and private gatherings, including religious and spiritual, should follow CDC guidance, which restricts gatherings to ten or fewer people. Click here to see executive orders:
To continue safely serving their communities, faith institutions are directed as follows:
- Church buildings and other physical locations for worship should be closed.
- Livestream or other virtual services are best.
- The minimum number of necessary personnel should be used at all times for any services.
- Staff and volunteers who are not speaking should wear masks.
- Drive-in services may be conducted only under these conditions:
- Attendees must be inside vehicles at all times.
- Attendees should not interact physically with clergy, staff or participants in other vehicles.
- Vehicles should contain only members of a single household. Do not bring your neighbors or others outside of your household.
- Cars must be spaced the equivalent of every other parking spot or approximately 9 feet apart.
- No one may exit a vehicle at any time.
- Portable bathrooms are not allowed on the premises and no church facilities may be used by attendees.
- It is preferred that no communion be distributed.
- In instances when communion is distributed, only prepackaged communion may be used and must be prepared and distributed in a manner that meets food safety standards.
- The following individuals who are vulnerable and at higher risk for illness should not attend:
- Persons who are 65 years and older.
- Those who have severe underlying medical conditions, like heart or lung disease or diabetes.
- Individuals who are sick.
- The CDC has provided the following guidance for the faith community.