Largest church in state sets reopening date, other large churches hold off

Some large churches reopening

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - For religious leaders, the challenge during the coronavirus pandemic has been balancing the physical health of their congregation, with their spiritual health.

Church of the Highlands has set a date to begin in-person services: Father’s Day, June 21.

"Your spiritual health and physical safety are our highest priority, we care very deeply about your faith needs and the health of your family,” said Pastor Chris Hodges in a video to the congregation. He declined an interview today.

Small prayer services will begin June 6th, allowing them to socially distance effectively.

"Even then we will put in place a way to make the rooms not so full so we can have some distancing,” said Hodges in the video.

Other large churches, like Rock City, aren’t quite ready to open fully back up.

"We know COVID 19 affects African Americans at a disproportionate rate,” said Pastor Michael McClure Jr.

That’s one of the reasons he wants to wait.

“What happens when they say Pastor Mike can you pray for me? In most African-American churches it’s touch and pray, you hold hands and pray.”

Until it’s safe to do that, he will continue digital service for his members.

“I would rather see them in six months, than view them in six weeks,” said McClure Jr.

McClure also says it’s important to remember that church never truly closes.

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