Phase One of the Trump administration guidelines for “Opening Up America Again,” which began Friday, included churches, and Liberty Counsel is calling on believers to begin the process of meeting again this weekend. The First Amendment prohibits government from prescribing the form or manner of worship, and Liberty Counsel’s attorneys have counseled hundreds of churches that will participate in ReOpen Church Sunday this weekend, or soon thereafter.
For example, ReOpen Church Sunday should include appropriate measures of sanitization and appropriate social distancing between families. Churches may also consider reopening with a variety of service options, which may include a combination of: (1) reduced seating inside the church; (2) parking lot services for those who cannot get or do not want to participate inside the church; and (3) online service for those who are unable to attend or who are in a higher risk category due to age or predisposed health conditions.
Liberty Counsel has provided suggested worship options and safety measures at ReOpenChurch.org that can be modified to fit each church. Pastors and church leadership are in the best position to decide when and how to begin the process of reopening in-person worship services. For example, a mega church in Texas has built on Liberty Counsel’s suggestions and created its own webpage and registration page overviewing its reopening plan this Sunday. This church has also been helping over 270 other churches around the country.
The Liberty Counsel team has communicated with large numbers of pastors and church leaders who have questions about how to begin the process of reopening their churches. For example, Liberty Counsel has advised the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which represents over 42,000 Hispanic evangelical churches in America and hundreds of thousands around the world.
The Greek word for church is “ekklesia,” which means “assembly.” The word “synagogue” is also derived from the Greek word, “sunagoge,” meaning “an assembly of people” or “a place of meeting.” Scripture also encourages believers to gather regularly. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” ReOpen Church Sunday is also the beginning of the National Day of Prayer week, which culminates on Thursday, May 7.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “We have heard from thousands of pastors who are wanting to begin the process of reopening some form of in-person services while also protecting the health and safety of all involved. There is no one-size-fits-all template as every church and demographic group is different. The ministries provided by churches are now more essential than ever to bring comfort, hope, and help to the people they serve. Each church is different and each one must assess when and how best to reopen.”