What to expect at your church this weekend: As some of Georgia’s businesses prepare to open Saturday and Monday, Gov. Brian Kemp also has OK’d “holding in-person services” while observing social distancing and other public health guidelines. Kemp’s statement follows:
“For places of worship, holding in-person services is allowed, but under Phase One guidelines, it must be done in accordance with strict social distancing protocols. I urge faith leaders to continue to help us in this effort and keep their congregations safe by heeding the advice of public health officials. Of course, online, call-in, or drive-in services remain good options for religious institutions.”
Catholic churches to continue online Masses through May. This from the Archdiocese of Atlanta from incoming Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer as well as bishops Joel M. Konzen and Bernard Shlesinger III:
“Knowing how much Catholics everywhere are yearning to return to the Eucharist and to gather once again in our churches, we must communicate that, having struggled with our decision, we believe that we must yet maintain the current practice of sheltering in place. With input and support from the priests of both the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah, we are, for the safety of all Georgia residents, not authorizing the return to congregating at churches or making our churches available for devotions. This determination extends through the month of May. If the sheltering-in-place and social distancing guidelines are altered significantly during this time, we will reexamine the possibility of congregating at churches.
“We took many factors into account in coming to this conclusion. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has been updating data daily and providing guidance on when next steps might be safe. Their current report on Georgia indicates that waiting until June to shift social distancing strategies would be the best course of action.
“Many of our priests fall into the high-risk category for this virus, as do a good number of the faithful. In addition to that, priests are reluctant to put their congregations at risk. With more than 200 churches and more than one million Catholics in the state of Georgia, in a great variety of circumstances, we are not able to offer a workable strategy that could apply throughout our diverse population.
“If one church offers a unique liturgy or devotion, it might be flooded with attendees. Normally that would be a welcome response, but in the current environment this would not respect the need to remain, for safety’s sake, in place. The same is true for drive-through services and devotions. Parishes that could accommodate a drive-through service or reconciliation for their own members would not be able to safely accommodate the additional people from surrounding communities.”
Hometown Headlines is publishing a list of churches planning in-preson services this weekend. Please email email@example.com with the following information to be shared:
- The church’s name and address.
- The hours of the service or services.
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