Michigan churches allowed to stay open during shutdown

NOW: Michigan churches allowed to stay open during shutdown

NILES, Michigan--- Michigan's statewide pandemic order shutting down in-person classes for high schools, entertainment venues, and gyms has gone into affect but religious gatherings were exempted from the order. The order stated at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday and last for three weeks.

"We’re following closely the recommendations and how does that work in to what we’re doing. It’s really important to us that we’re serving the community well while also holding on to our core beliefs," said Nathanael Lyon, Lead Pastor of Hope Community Church in Niles.

For Lyon, who took over as pastor of Hope in October, navigating a pandemic during a time of transition has been a learning exercise. 

"Obviously with this weekend the Governor announcing some new recommendations, we’re having more conversations as the leadership of our church," said Lyon. "We want to make sure at Hope Community Church that we’re being good members of the community."

Like many religious institutions across the state, Hope Community Church hosted virtual only services from March through some of the summer. That is no longer the case as the church now has in-person services with new polices to keep members safe.

"We’re really blessed here to have a sanctuary where all the chairs are banquet chairs, so the we’ve had some chairs removed, they’re spread all out across the room, and we strongly encourage and recommend that people wear masks," said Lyon.

Lyon says Hope Community Church will continue to host in-person services for the time being, but will monitor any changes that the state may have. 

"We definitely want to take into account what the recommendations are," said Lyon. "We take that seriously and as members of the community we want to make sure that we’re doing our part."

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