Churches reopen their doors to reduced numbers of congregants with safety measures in place after President Trump designated places of worship 'essential'(26 Pictues)

For the first time in two months, there was clapping, singing and fellowship inside churches across the country as many reopened for Sunday services. 
There was also masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing. 
The reopening's came just days after President Trump staged a dramatic unscheduled news conference to proclaim that he would require governors to reopen churches and other houses of worship and exempt them from coronavirus lockdowns.
Trump even mocked governors who have deemed establishments like liquor stores 'essential' stores that could remain open despite closures that hit houses of worship.    
One such church was the Faith Assembly of God in Orlando which opened again for worshippers after being closed for seven weeks. 
The church said that is had put safety measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Pastor Carl Stephens said it was beyond time to reopen the Florida church's doors and welcome back the people he had missed seeing in pews
Pastor Carl Stephens said it was beyond time to reopen the Florida church's doors and welcome back the people he had missed seeing in pews
Faith Assembly of God church reopened doors for worship on Sunday with safety measures
Faith Assembly of God church reopened doors for worship on Sunday with safety measures
The church advertised that it was reopening its doors on a sign out on the street
The church advertised that it was reopening its doors on a sign out on the street
Pastor Carl Stephens said it was beyond time to reopen the church's doors and welcome the people he has missed seeing in pews.
'It's been the longest seven weeks of my life, feels like anyway,' Pastor Carl Stephens  said to ClickOrlando.
Over the last two months, the pastor delivered his sermons online. 
'We've preached to a camera knowing that there are literally thousands of people listening and watching the service,' Stephens said.
Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis designated religious services as essential in April but Stephens still decided to remain shut.
The pastor said that social distancing measures were in place including the blocking-off of rows and certain seats in order to keep worshippers apart
The pastor said that social distancing measures were in place including the blocking-off of rows and certain seats in order to keep worshippers apart
It wasn't until President Trump's announcement on Friday designating houses of worship to be essential, that he finally decided to reopen. 
'We really prayed about it we really felt good about it so then the president comes out says to all the different governors churches are essential, which all pastors know that anyway,' Stephens said.
'That really was another 'okay this is a good weekend to start,'' Stephens said of Trump's approval.
In preparation for the arrival of worshippers, the church had signs and markers placed throughout to remind the congregation to keep social distancing and avoid physical contact. 
Pastor Troy Gramling leads the congregation in prayer at Potential Church after it opened on Sunday, in Cooper City, Florida
Pastor Troy Gramling leads the congregation in prayer at Potential Church after it opened on Sunday, in Cooper City, Florida 
Parishioners pray together at Potential Church. The church reopened it's doors to a select group of people with safety measures in place
Parishioners pray together at Potential Church. The church reopened it's doors to a select group of people with safety measures in place
'We have commercial disinfectant equipment that they are going to be disinfecting the whole building before the service then in between our services,' Stephens said. 
'Those that are not quite ready we've told them please, you do what you feel comfortable with,' he told 6News.    
Tension over when and how to reopen houses of worship has varied depending on the state, as different areas set their own pace for easing pandemic stay-at-home orders. 

Parishioners sing during service at Grace Bible Church Sunday in Tempe, Arizona
Parishioners sing during service at Grace Bible Church Sunday in Tempe, Arizona
A deacon at Grace Bible Church, left, hands out individually packed communion kits to parishioners during service at Grace Bible Church on Sunday
A deacon at Grace Bible Church, left, hands out individually packed communion kits to parishioners during service at Grace Bible Church on Sunday
A woman prays near a pickup truck as priests from Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church lead prayers during a procession called the Blessed Sacrament, to bring blessings to worshippers outside their homes while their church sanctuary is closed to them in Queens, New York
A woman prays near a pickup truck as priests from Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church lead prayers during a procession called the Blessed Sacrament, to bring blessings to worshippers outside their homes while their church sanctuary is closed to them in Queens, New York
Deacon Robert Lavanco of Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church, prays with Krystyna Kopacki as she kneels in the street during a procession called the Blessed Sacrament, to bring blessings to worshippers outside their homes while their church sanctuary is closed
Deacon Robert Lavanco of Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church, prays with Krystyna Kopacki as she kneels in the street during a procession called the Blessed Sacrament, to bring blessings to worshippers outside their homes while their church sanctuary is closed
In New Jersey, a Camden County pastor threatened to sue New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy if he doesn't deem places of worship essential. 
Solid Rock Baptist, in Berlin, held an in-person service Sunday morning despite a lockdown still being in place in the state.   
'We are here exercising our first amendment rights,' Charles Clark III said to CBS News. 'Our lawsuit is prepared. The Bible Baptist Church of Clementon is meeting today and their church and our church will jointly sue our governor this week if things are not changed.'
'We know the precautions that have to be taken. Our elderly, in particular, need to be watched out for, cared for – we're especially careful with them – and we know that we need to take measures to protect our church family and protect our community from the coronavirus,' Clark said to NBC10
In New Jersey, Camden County pastor, Charles Clark III threatened to sue New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy if he doesn't deem places of worship essential.
In New Jersey, Camden County pastor, Charles Clark III threatened to sue New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy if he doesn't deem places of worship essential.
'We are here exercising our first amendment rights,' Charles Clark III said to CBS News . 'Our lawsuit is prepared. The Bible Baptist Church of Clementon is meeting today and their church and our church will jointly sue our governor this week if things are not changed.'
'We are here exercising our first amendment rights,' Charles Clark III said to CBS News . 'Our lawsuit is prepared. The Bible Baptist Church of Clementon is meeting today and their church and our church will jointly sue our governor this week if things are not changed.'
Deacons Paul Norman (2nd from R) and Robert Lavanco (R) of Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church, bless a woman and child at a gas station as they walk in the Blessed Sacrament
Deacons Paul Norman (2nd from R) and Robert Lavanco (R) of Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church, bless a woman and child at a gas station as they walk in the Blessed Sacrament
Lakewood Chapel Church members attend for a Memorial Day service in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Trump said state governors need to 'do the right thing' and open houses of worship
Lakewood Chapel Church members attend for a Memorial Day service in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Trump said state governors need to 'do the right thing' and open houses of worship
Pastor John Elleson, left, walks in as Daniel Meeks, center, and Ruth Smith wait to attend a Memorial Day service at Lakewood Chapel Church in Arlington Heights
Pastor John Elleson, left, walks in as Daniel Meeks, center, and Ruth Smith wait to attend a Memorial Day service at Lakewood Chapel Church in Arlington Heights
Pastor John Elleson's wife Sue Elleson, left, Daniel Meeks, center, and Ruth Smith pray during a Memorial Day service at Lakewood Chapel Church
Pastor John Elleson's wife Sue Elleson, left, Daniel Meeks, center, and Ruth Smith pray during a Memorial Day service at Lakewood Chapel Church
Sonia Falk prays during a Memorial Day service at Lakewood Chapel Church. Parishioners practiced social distancing, most wearing face coverings, due to the coronavirus as the church held its first in-person service since March
Sonia Falk prays during a Memorial Day service at Lakewood Chapel Church. Parishioners practiced social distancing, most wearing face coverings, due to the coronavirus as the church held its first in-person service since March
The NewJersey governor's office has said that the reopening of places of worship is being looked at as part of the state's Phase 2 of reopening. 
''I would hope we'd get to the reopening houses of worship sooner than later, but we want to make sure we do it right, responsibly, and that we don't kill anybody by doing it too fast,' Murphy said to CNN on Sunday.
Many churches have announced they would resume in-person services next Sunday on Pentecost.
The CDC has also published recommendations to prevent exposure to COVID-19 in churches, synagogues and other religious facilities. 
It includes temporarily limiting the sharing of frequently touched objects like prayer rugs, prayer books and hymnals. 
Deacon Robert Lavanco (L) adjusts the vestments of Deacon Paul Norman as The Rev. Peter Purpura (L) blesses a person over a mobile phone
Deacon Robert Lavanco (L) adjusts the vestments of Deacon Paul Norman as The Rev. Peter Purpura (L) blesses a person over a mobile phone
Parishioners listen as Pastor Troy Gramling leads the congregation in prayer
Parishioners listen as Pastor Troy Gramling leads the congregation in prayer
Frank Rodriguez uses a spray disinfectant to prepare Potential Church for congregants
Frank Rodriguez uses a spray disinfectant to prepare Potential Church for congregants 
Faith Baptist Church in Palmhurst, Texas, west of McAllen, held an hour-long service. 
The church announced its plans on its website May 19, along with an extensive list of precautions, including urging members over 65 or those with immune system vulnerabilities to consider viewing the service online.
'We´re doing our best to follow what the government has asked us to do. But we also want to be able to try and have services so this is probably how it's going to be looking for at least a few weeks,' Tad Wychopen II, the assistant pastor, told the attendees.
During his message Senior Pastor R. David Harris also emphasized the cautious approach. 'Church gathering is important but at this point there's still health issues and we still don't know where things are going,' he said. 
Stephanie Borge prays with other parishioners after returning to the church
Stephanie Borge prays with other parishioners after returning to the church
The church reopened after hearing President Donald Trump announcing on Friday that governors around the country should allow houses of worship to reopen
The church reopened after hearing President Donald Trump announcing on Friday that governors around the country should allow houses of worship to reopen
Over the weekend at least one standoff between a governor eased while another intensified.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced he scrapped his 10-person limit on group gatherings and allowing churches to open at 25 percent occupancy if certain safety guidelines are met.
While the leader of the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Archbishop Bernard Hebda, welcomed the change, he said parishes should not open if they don't feel they can meet safety measures.
A woman and child sit in a circle designed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus by encouraging social distancing at Washington Square park in front of Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco
A woman and child sit in a circle designed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus by encouraging social distancing at Washington Square park in front of Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco
The Roman Catholic and Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregations had announced they planned to defy Walz's previous order.
The battle over in-person services continued in California. A split 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld California Governor Gavin Newsom's ban on in-person services. 
He vowed to provide plans Monday for how religious institutions can reopen. 
Many in California had already announced they would violate the state order and hold in-person services next Sunday, on Pentecost. 
In Kentucky, for the first time in two months, there was clapping and singing inside In Stithton Baptist Church in Radcliff as members of the congregation returned to the sanctuary for Sunday morning services.  
For Stithton Baptist, the reopening wasn't about restrictions, Trump's declaration or the release of guidelines by the federal Centers for Disease, Control and Prevention for reopening faith organizations.
Pastor Denny Pagel prays during a service at Grace Bible Church on Sunday in Tempe, Arizona
Pastor Denny Pagel prays during a service at Grace Bible Church on Sunday in Tempe, Arizona
On May 8, a federal court halted Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear's temporary ban on mass gatherings from applying to in-person religious services, clearing the way for Sunday church services, with guidelines. 
Pastor Denver Copeland said his congregation has been meeting in the church parking lot for drive-in services since March 29 and hasn't rushed back, even though his sanctuary space meets the 33% occupancy requirement. 'We just weren't ready,' the pastor said. They made their plans to hold in-person services three weeks ago.
Copeland said Friday´s CDC release of religious guidelines 'made it all the more legit' for the timing of their return to in-church services. In a sanctuary which can legally accommodate 1,400, the normal Sunday attendance is 200. 
On Sunday, every other pew was marked off to enforce social distancing and individual bags of masks, gloves and hand sanitizer were available at all three entrances that were left open prior to and after the service. 
Sitting inside an empty mosque, Morad Awad bows his head during prayer before an Eid al-Fitr celebration in Plano, Texas on Sunday
Sitting inside an empty mosque, Morad Awad bows his head during prayer before an Eid al-Fitr celebration in Plano, Texas on Sunday
Amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19, a small group prays inside an empty mosque before an Eid al-Fitr celebration. Many Muslims in America are navigating balancing religious and social rituals with concerns over the virus as they look for ways to capture the Eid spirit
Amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19, a small group prays inside an empty mosque before an Eid al-Fitr celebration. Many Muslims in America are navigating balancing religious and social rituals with concerns over the virus as they look for ways to capture the Eid spirit
Many in the Muslim community took a different path in celebrating the Eid al-Fitr - the feast of breaking the fast - that marks the end of Ramadan, when Muslims abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset.
Just like they did during Ramadan, many resorted to at-home worship and relied on technology for online gatherings, sermons and, now, Eid entertainment.
Sheikh Yasir Qadhi, resident scholar at East Plano Islamic Center in Texas, delivered an Eid sermon broadcast online from a mosque closed to the public. 
Outside, his mosque organized a drive-through Eid celebration, one of many at mosques around the country, for kids in cars to pick up goody bags while maintaining social distancing. 
Children look on from a sunroof as organizers prepared to give them candy during an Eid al-Fitr drive through celebration outside a closed mosque in Texas
Children look on from a sunroof as organizers prepared to give them candy during an Eid al-Fitr drive through celebration outside a closed mosque in Texas
Churches reopen their doors to reduced numbers of congregants with safety measures in place after President Trump designated places of worship 'essential'(26 Pictues) Churches reopen their doors to reduced numbers of congregants with safety measures in place after President Trump designated places of worship 'essential'(26 Pictues) Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 01:34 Rating: 5

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