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Some local churches holding off on reopening

While many churches and faith communities are juggling the different regulations sent down by Brown, some have yet to even open yet.

Posted: Jul 23, 2020 6:24 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- While many churches and faith communities are juggling the different regulations sent down by Gov. Kate Brown, some have yet to even open yet.

"We really believe in the goal of flattening the curve, but our goal is more than that. We want to prevent transmission," said Reverend Adam Briddell.

Briddell, the senior pastor at First United Methodist Church in Eugene, said all Methodist churches in Oregon are closed to in-person worship.

They are opening in phases laid out by their bishop, Elaine Stanovsky.

Briddell said the next phase would allow for gatherings of up to 50 but he said he doesn't want to have to police his congregation.

"This idea of having our ushers count to 40 people and telling 50 "sorry try again next week," our folk aren't really interested in that," he said.

Rabbi Azer Moskowski, leader of Akiva at the University of Oregon, said they have not reopened yet either.

He also said they are holding out and hoping to reopen fully in September because that's when their High Holy Days take place -- a time he says even people not strongly connected with their Judaism will come to synagogue.

"We don't want to lose having the opportunity to get together in September because we opened prematurely," he said.

Other faith communities have followed suit.

Mormon churches have a phased reopening plan of their own -- with phase one beginning for some churches varying by city starting July 27 -- but even then only select ceremonies will be allowed. They aren't allowing in-person services either.

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