MN Churches Prepare To Reopen With Capacity Limits
Places or worship across Minnesota are preparing to reopen as Governor Tim Walz allows faith services to resume under new guidelines starting Wednesday.
MOORHEAD, MINN. – The pews at Saint Josephs have been empty since early March.
Under new guidelines for the reopening of places of worship across Minnesota, many of these pews will continue to remain empty.
“It’s been a very different time, especially in how we do ministry for parishioners, because so many of the people that we would normally be in contact with, we just shouldn’t be because of their age,” said Father Larry Delaney, the Pastor at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church.
The guidelines call for:
- A minimum of six feet of distance between families
- Indoor services can not exceed 25% capacity
- Indoor and outdoor services can not exceed 250 people
“Nobody is mandated to come worship, we are encouraging our vulnerable populations not to attend until they feel safe,” said Pastor Delaney.
For those that choose not to attend the service, Saint Josephs will continue to offer their worship services online, as well as expand upon their virtual Zoom programs.
“We’re trying to be as innovative as possible, and everybody is learning as we go,” said Pastor Delaney, “The first time I ever Zoomed was two months ago, and I’m sure it’s the same thing for many other people.”
The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Moorhead has also had empty pews since early March, but has been live streaming all of their worship and services throughout the whole pandemic.
“We’ve never considered ourselves closed, we just adapted to a new method right now, and when it’s safe to do so, we will be doing in person services again,” said Pastor Mary Suomala Folkerds, the Lead Pastor for the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.
They are choosing to not hold in-person services until June 14th, when they will host a drive-up worship service, a sort of trial run to see if services can be run safely.
“Christianity started without buildings, and Christians have been learning how to be followers of Jesus in every century, in every part of the world, in many different ways,” said Pastor Mary Suomala Folkerds
Walz’s guidelines are also for weddings and funerals.