Churches are allowed to resume in person services following the recent win with litigation against Governor Andy Beshear’s ban on church services.
Two federal judges issued rulings Friday, May 8, in favor of Kentucky churches that want to hold in-person worship services, and a third court issued a similar ruling on Saturday, May 9.
U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove granted a temporary restraining order Friday, May 8, preventing Gov. Beshear from “enforcing the prohibition on mass gatherings with respect to any in-person religious service which adheres to applicable social distancing and hygiene guidelines.”
Van Tatenhove’s ruling will allow any Kentucky congregation to meet in person as long as they follow the guidelines.
After talking with a few pastors in Mercer County Terry Morrison, president of the Mercer Ministerial Association said churches are searching for the best and safest route for their parish.
“Community Church has been holding drive-in church for the past two weeks. Others have been doing that for a longer period,” said Morrison. “I have spoken to some who plan to resume on the 17th or 24th. Each church will decide based on the directives of their leadership or hierarchy. “
Morrison said the ministerial association has no authority or desire to direct any church on what to do.
“I personally wish to respect each church’s decision and each individual’s personal position on this issue,” said Morrison. “Speaking just for myself, I think it is a cause for concern when any level of government infringes on religious freedom.”
The state website kycovid19.ky.gov has recommendations for churches resuming services that include the following prevention measures for COVID-19:
• Remind each other to stay calm and be informed.
• Practice healthy hygiene and wash your hands often.
• Practice social distancing (6 feet away).
• Postpone gatherings.
• Provide web and mobile-based communications and services, if possible.
• Increase the use of email, conference calls, video conferencing, and web-based seminars.
• Partner with other organizations in your community to share messaging.
• Remind people it is ok – even preferable- to postpose events in these situations. Events may include group gatherings such as weddings, funerals, youth activities, religious study groups and celebration meals. Remind each other it is an act of care for fellow members who may be at higher risk.
• Refrain from handshaking, hugs or other direct physical contact. Greet one another without physical contact with a smile, saying hello, or a wave.
• Implement environmental surface cleaning measures including frequently touched surfaces and objects: tables, doorknobs, nursery equipment, shared books, etc. Use regular household cleaning spray or wipes as recommended by CDC. For more information on the COVID-19 guidelines visit www.kycovid19.ky.gov.
Pictured: Terry Morrison, president of the Mercer County Ministerial Association