Churches begin holding services again with social distancing

Church-goers return to first in-person services since emergency declaration with adjustments

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - After seven weeks of watching church on the couch or in bed, members of Trinity Lutheran once again put on their Sunday’s best and attended church in person.

Rather than worship inside though, members sat in the church’s parking lot, socially distanced.

“It was an extremely awesome experience,” said Dana Sanders, one church member.

Elders spend the last week-and-a-half planning the service. Church leaders had to figure out how to keep everyone separated while allowing them to come worship.

“We don’t want to be the cause of any kind of illness or sickness to our congregation, so we were going to do anything we could,” said Gary Buuck, an elder of the church.

What the elders came up with was a system of marking x’s in spots that were measured 10 feet apart.

The idea is that if you put chairs, or clusters of chairs for families, on the marks, everyone would be at least six feet apart.

“It’s been, I wouldn’t say a challenge, but it’s been strategically laid out the way that we were trying to do this and I think we’re just so excited to come together and even get to see some of that happen,” said Buuck.

Members were asked to sign up for services ahead of time so church leaders could have a good idea of who was going to show up.

All elders and church staff wore a mask.

Pastor Dave Buss, while happy his congregation was finally able to meet in person, hopes the “new normal” of the coronavirus pandemic does not last forever.

“Our hope is that we will be allowed next week to do more. We’re looking forward to getting inside,” said Buss. “We’ve got people reading these documents that are coming out from the government with a fine-tooth comb and so the next step is 25 percent occupancy in the sanctuary.”

Until Gov. John Bel Edwards gives that order, this is how church services will have to be held.

That is ok for Roger Sanders.

“It’s been crazy times but I’m glad to be back,” said Sanders.

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