Marion county residents struggle with decision to attend in-person Sunday services

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Despite churches being allowed to reopen under strict social distancing guidelines, including a limit of 25 people, as of Saturday night 15 people signed up for Sunday morning service at Cornerstone Lutheran Church on East New York Street.

“We knew people would be slow to come back in Marion County being the epicenter, and we want those people to know, that it’s OK,” said Victor Minetola, pastor at Cornerstone Lutheran Church.

A recent News 8 Twitter poll shows similar numbers.

Almost 80% of people said they were staying virtual, while 13% said they planned to attend an in-person service and 8% said they were undecided.  

Cornerstone Lutheran in Indianapolis also has locations in Carmel and Fishers that reopened May 10.

Minetola said lessons learned were marking entrances and exits and instructing attendees on when they could leave their chairs to avoid everyone leaving at once.

Attendees at all locations are asked to wear masks the entire time inside and there’s plenty of hand sanitizer. Seating has also been modified to allow for social distancing.

Church leaders say making the decision to hold in-person service was difficult, but the goal was to provide another option in addition to virtual services while following the guidelines laid out by the state.

“Our in-person services are restricted and shortened. Our virtual services remain a full service, so if you decide to stay home, you’re not missing out,” said Minetola.


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