WISCONSIN — On Friday, President Donald Trump called for churches and other places of worship to reopen. Now, many worship centers are putting plans in place for their safe reopening.
Many of these locations are planning a phased approach with specific guidelines and recommendations in place.
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With the Safer at Home order overturned, churches are free to open as they please. However, this is not the case for the city of Milwaukee or Racine. Racine is still under a stay at home order, as is Milwaukee.
Milwaukee, however, is allowing churches to gather in person as long as there is 10 people or less.
The following is a list of worship organizations and facilities that have plans in place to reopen, in addition to what they're doing to keep their people safe.
African Methodist Episcopal Church Milwaukee District
They are not offering in-person services at this time.
American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin
The Regional Executive Minister of American Baptist Church of Wisconsin, Rev. Dr. Marie Onwubuariri, stated that reopening plans will be decided on a church by church basis. However, Onwubuariri recommended that churches practice extreme caution, follow CDC guidelines, and pay attention to local orders.
All services will be offered via zoom, and in-person services will not resume until they can ensure the safety of the community.
The Buddhist Peace Fellowship
People may enter if they are using precautions such as masks, social distancing, and proper disinfecting of items that are shared. All classes and meditation sittings are being offered via Zoom.
The archdiocese stated that churches will use social distancing and changes will be made to the communion process. No one will drink from cup, instead communion will be received in hand. Additionally, communion will only be distributed by the priests, or vested permanent or transitional deacons.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
There is currently no plan to reopen. However, when they do, they will make changes to regular procedures in order to protect visitors.
Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee
A pastoral direction was issued on April 17 that stated churches must remain closed through May 31. This direction still stands even after the supreme court overturned the Safer at Home order extension. They will begin a phased re-opening for public worship 14 days after the initiation of Phase One of the Badger Bounce Back plan.
Hindu Temple of Wisconsin
Sarvesh Geddam says the temple hours will be restricted. The blessed water and nuts will be prepackaged, and Devotees will be asked to wear masks and maintain social distancing. Prayer services at the Hindu Temple of Wisconsin are primarily autonomous.
Islamic Society of Milwaukee and Brookfield
The Islamis Society will be implementing a phased approach with in-person services hopefully resuming in June. This plan is in accordance with CDC guidelines. They will be requiring face masks, and implementing sanitizing, disinfecting, and social distancing.
Milwaukee Jewish Federation (MJF)
The MJF is working with local, state, and national partners to facilitate a safe reopening plan for their facilities, including synagogues, community centers, schools, senior centers, camps, and workplaces.
M.T.O. is not open at this time. When they reopen, there will be no communal meal, tea service, or group chanting. Additionally, when they reopen they will maintain social distancing and will wear facemasks.
Presbytery of Milwaukee
Rachel Yates of the Presbytery said "the recommendation is to not to open in person worship at the church until the public health guidelines have been met to see a downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases reported for a 14-day period, and an increase in testing programs."
The Religious Society of Friends
The Milwaukee Meeting is still closed at this time and will remain closed through Milwaukee's stay at home order. They will continue offering virtual worship.
Sikh Temple of Wisconsin and Sikh Religious Society
They will not be opening until at least June. They are trusting science and data to create a plan that ensures the safety of the sacred community.
Unitarian Universalist Southeast Wisconsin
The church will be closed through the summer. Come fall, the UU administration will re-assess the situation and go from there.
United Church of Christ (UCC)
The UCC will be following the Badger Bounce Back program. The plan allows for a gradual reopening and a cautious approach that keeps the health of the community in mind.
United Methodist Church, Wisconsin Conference SE District
The UMC will consider a wide variety of resources, including CDC, health care providers, scientists, the Wisconsin Council of Churches and other conference resources when establishing a plan to return to in-person worship
Wisconsin Council of Rabbis
The Wisconsin Council of Rabbis has made several changes to regular procedures. Funerals will have limited attendance, there will be no kissing the scroll unless you use a prayer shawl, anyone removing the Torah scroll must be from the same household, and Bat mitzvahs and Bar mitzvahs gatherings will have limited visitors.