Md. church open for Sunday services despite orders to limit attendance

An Anne Arundel County, Maryland, church is holding in person services despite orders from the county executive to limit attendance.

Chesapeake Christian Fellowship church in Davidsonville is open for three services Sunday for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.

The church sent a letter to the community that said it would limit attendance to 120 parishioners per service, despite an order from Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman that religious institutions have no more than 10 people inside the building at one time.

Pittman sent guidance to religious communities stating the restriction last week.

Chesapeake Christian senior pastor James A. “Pat” Packett wrote in his note, “the health of our people is very important to me. Therefore, allow me to assure you that social distancing and health protocols will be in place and strictly adhered to. If you, at this time, are uncomfortable with attending, we completely understand.”

The church staggered services by last name, with those beginning with “A” through “F” at 9 a.m., “G” through “O” at 11 a.m. and “P” through “Z” at 1 p.m.

Children age 10 and under were not allowed to enter and children’s services were canceled, according to the note.

Every person’s temperature was to be checked before entering the building and people would be allowed to enter until 30 minutes before the start of each service, Packett said.

The church said that pews were marked for where to sit and only every other pew will be used for the services.

Every person must stand six feet apart, face masks must be worn at all times and hand sanitizer stations are available upon entering and exiting, according to the church’s note.

Additionally, the pastor said that bulletins, bibles, and tissues are not available.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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