In-Person Worship May Resume, Though Not Everyone Is Ready

May 21, 2020

Small religious gatherings that follow social distancing resumed Thursday in New York and Connecticut, but some places of worship say they’re holding off on reopening.

The Diocese of Bridgeport will be the first in Connecticut to resume Mass in-person. Services will be held outdoors in parking lots, either in cars or outdoor seating, and capped at 50 people.

Diocese spokesperson Brian Wallace says people are eager to return to church. 

“We know from the calls and letters that we’ve received that people deeply miss Mass and the sacrament – public Mass.”

Jeremy Taylor, executive director of Black Rock Church in Fairfield, says his church wants to open, but the state’s current guidelines are too strict. 

“We hope that we can work with the government to come up with some regulations that work for all of us to keep people safe, but also to allow for people to grow in their faith, because people need it now. We have a lot of people who are just desperate for hope and for meaning.” 

In New York Governor Andew Cuomo says religious gatherings of no more than 10 people can resume. Parking lot services and drive-up services will also be allowed. 

But Rabbi Daniel Geffen says it’s too soon to reopen Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor.

“We will make those decisions when it feels appropriate from a leadership standpoint, but at this stage – even though the governor has made it clear that certain things are possible – we have no anticipation of acting upon it.” 

Cuomo says he will work with the state’s Interfaith Advisory Council on a plan to safely bring back full religious services. 

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