FISHERS, Ind. (WTHR) — ITOWN church in Fishers closed for 5 weeks, but now it appears to be Indiana’s first church to reopen for worship.
Its pastor insists the church can follow the rules and keep worshipers safe from COVID-19.
Pastor Dave Sumrall delivered the news on Facebook.
“We are officially in a situation where your religious freedoms are removed in the interest of public health,” he said.
Sumrall argued it is unjust that box stores are allowed to open their doors to a thousand customers, while churches are limited to gatherings of ten.
“I believe this is a fundamental attack on what the definition of the church is,” Sumrall said.
ITOWN church is big with about 5,000 members according to one of the ministers. The church is active in the community. It has given away tens of thousands of face masks and meals.
In last Sunday’s sermon, posted online, Sumrall compared the COVID-19 pandemic to the devil.
“If you get deceived by the devil and stay in a place of prolonged social distancing and self-isolation you will be desperately in trouble,” he explained.
The church promises to strictly follow government and CDC guidelines. Each service will be limited to 10 worshipers. They will be following strict social distancing recommendations in a sanctuary disinfected between services.
Members have to reserve their seats online. Late Friday afternoon, they had filled all but one of the 30 services scheduled between Sunday morning and Tuesday night.
A church official said no one was available to comment.
Fishers city officials, police and department of health are all aware of the church’s decision. City officials have notified the state authorities.