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San Antonio church leaders evaluating when congregations can begin to meet again

San Antonio – San Antonio church leaders say they are actively having conversations about when their congregations will meet again for a live service.

Chris Johnson, pastor of the First Baptist Church San Antonio, says pastors from across the city are calling and emailing each other to figure out a safe plan for their members.

“We want to be really careful to make sure that we're not the cause of a spike in cases again,” he explained.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has declared that churches are essential and can begin to gather, but they must comply with safe distance practices and designate secure areas for the population most at risk.

Johnson said his church has decided to wait at least two weeks to figure out if it will hold in-person services again or continue to wait. He said, based on the response from his congregation, they are adapting well to the use of web streaming services, tv services and group meeting websites.

“We've had a remarkable turnout from our congregation and all the different ways that we've been meeting online and Facetime,” Johnson said.

He said each church will decide when and how it’s safest for their congregation to meet again.

Health experts with the city of San Antonio are recommending that churches wait to hold live services for a bit longer, based on what local data is showing.

The Archdiocese of San Antonio of San Antonio released the following statement:

"On April 16, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller extended the decree regarding changes impacting parishes in the Archdiocese of San Antonio due to COVID-19 until May 18. The archbishop will be consulting with his senior staff, Presbyteral Council, and clergy prior to resumption of the celebration of public liturgies — along with collaboration with health authorities and civic authorities —before making substantive changes to current policies and procedures.”

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