Some metro churches to reopen this weekend, with changes to seating, communion

KC Comeback

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The president is calling on governors to allow mosques, temples, synagogues and churches to open immediately.

“I am correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential,” President Donald Trump said Friday.

Under updated state guidelines, some metro churches will be open for worship this weekend.

An empty church with a minister preaching the gospel, delivered through a computer screen: That’s the way any congregations have been worshiping the past two months.

“Truly missing the people has been the biggest part, the biggest difficulty,” said Michael Podrebarac, liturgy and sacramental life director with the KCK Archdiocese.

Podrebarac is thankful that under Phase Two of Kansas’ reopening plan, churches can open at 25% capacity.

But many churches are implementing changes.

READ: CDC publishes new pandemic guidance for religious worship

“The first thing they’ll notice is they’ll be required to put on a mask before they come into the church building, and if it’s available with supplies, they’ll use hand sanitizer,” Podrebarac said.

“The pews will be marked as to where they can sit, which pews can be occupied, which have to remain closed, to keep minimum of six feet social distance.”

Many longtime traditions in the Catholic church, like peace offerings, won’t happen at all.  The congregation is also being asked not to sing.

Changes will continue with communion.

“Most people will receive in the hand. For those who do wish to receive in the tongue, which is still permitted and part of our long-standing Catholic custom, however, the minister who gives communion on the tongue will have to purify his or her fingers after each communicant,” Podrebarac said.

Large churches are even asking people to RSVP using online platforms like Sign Up Genius to reserve a seat.

“We’ve asked people to cooperate with that as much as possible because nobody wants to be turned away and no usher or church staff, whoever is manning the doors, wants to have to tell someone you can’t come in,” Podrebarac said. “That’s so alien to how we operate.”

It’ll be an adjustment, but they’re changes that churches say are needed as congregates look to keep both physically and spiritually healthy.

“I’d ask among the faithful, just be patient. We’re all trying to do the best we can,” he said.

FOX4 spoke with leaders of several other Christian churches as well. Many said they will not be offering childcare yet. They are spreading out chairs and doing everything possible to make Sunday services safe.

Life.Church, which has a campus in Overland Park, shared the following statement:

“In difficult times, the church is an important place of refuge for those seeking peace, comfort and healing. After a significant amount of prayer and preparation, we’ve decided to resume services at our Overland Park location.

“We feel confident in our church’s ability to create a sanitary, touchless environment that allows for physical distancing and exceeds government recommendations for safety.

“However, we encourage our attenders to make the best choice for their family as they consider attending a physical location or continuing to worship with us at Life.Church Online.”

Some churches are also waiting to reopen until June or even July.

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