Denominations Differ on When to Reopen Churches

In the Birmingham, Alabama, area, major denominations are adopting different dates concerning when churches should reopen after being closed for now nearly a month due to Covid-19 precautions.

On May 7, the bishop and cabinet of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church requested that suspension of in-person worship continue until at least June 1. The following day, Governor Kay Ivey allowed places of worship to resume services effective May 11 with unlimited numbers of people, provided social distancing was maintained, but the direction of United Methodist leaders has not changed.

On May 10, Bishop Kee Sloan announced he was not altering his earlier prohibition on face-to-face worship in the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama through May 17, despite the governor’s action.

On May 11, Bishop Robert Baker, allowed for public worship to resume in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Alabama effective today, May 13, the memorial of Our Lady of Fatima. He encouraged mass to be celebrated outside if possible and mandated several other changes to minimize physical contact.

Baptists, in keeping with their polity, leave the decision about when to reopen up to local congregations.

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