A Christian nonprofit group is calling all churches to resume in-person worship services on May 3, the Sunday before the National Day of Prayer on May 7. The group claims “now is the time to act” to end the suspension of in-person services caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Liberty Council, an international nonprofit Christian litigation group based in Florida, recently announced its new initiative, ReOpen Church Sunday. The campaign “is calling on the churches to open and believers to start meeting again on Sunday, May 3.”
The group claims churches are “more essential than ever” but they must be smart about reopening. “ReOpen Church Sunday should include appropriate measures of sanitization and appropriate social distancing…”
The initiative suggests three different service options churches should implement when resuming in-person services:
Liberty Counsel founder and attorney Mat Staver told The Christian Post May 3 was chosen because it’s the beginning of the National Day of Prayer week. He also said it falls in line with phase one of President Trump’s effort to slowly reopen the country.
“We chose May 3 because it is part of that phase one of the Opening America Again [proposal] that the president issued as guidelines,” Staver said. “It actually begins on May 1. It’s the first phase of the three-phase program and churches are included in that phase.”
According to phase one, large venues, including sit-down dining, movie theaters and places of worship “can operate under strict physical distancing protocols.”
Despite Liberty’s ReOpen Church Sunday initiative, many churches are hesitant about reopening too soon. Pastor Brady Boyd of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO, fears reopening may damage the trust his church has built with the community.
“My concern is many churches have spent years building trust in the community. But will lose it with one decision to prematurely gather, further spreading the virus to healthcare workers and the vulnerable. Let’s be in our cities for the sake of our cities,” he said.
Jeffrey J. Barrows, executive member of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), also believes reopening churches too soon is a risk not worth taking.
“We recommend that all churches follow the guidance provided by their government officials during this unprecedented outbreak,” Barrows said. “This includes churches.”
He added that governmental authorities “are in the best position to safely recommend when and how… communities can resume… gatherings.”