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Faith leaders not ready to welcome worshipers back

President Trump said governors should let houses of worship open immediately, but not all faith leaders are ready to reopen their doors

ST. LOUIS — It was the first Sunday for several churches across the country to welcome back their faithful.

The reopening of houses of worship comes following a passionate plea from President Trump. But not every faith leader is ready to welcome their flock back.

"At the absolute earliest, we'd be looking at July before we would be really start considering going back into the building," said Pastor Charles Norris from St. James AME Church in North St. Louis.

Pastor Norris has enjoyed preaching, teaching and conducting all church meetings online.

"It's going well, but it's a challenge. In addition to being pastor, teacher, I am scripture director, producer," Pastor Norris said.

And while President Trump is urging the nation's church leaders to reopen their doors and help rejuvenate the economy, Pastor Norris still thinks it's too soon and unsafe for his 300 members.

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"Not only is it unsafe, I think it's irresponsible as a leader to call your people into such a risky situation," said Pastor Norris.

"We have had very high viewership with our online worship. Many of my members are happy online. I've seen them in pajamas or sweatpants," said Pastor Scott Schmieding from Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Pastor Schmieding says going virtual in the midst of the pandemic has pushed his ministry to new levels.

Schmieding offers his 3,500 members five online services and drive-by services as well.

"We're ready to get back, but we're gonna do it gradually, wisely and safely," said Pastor Schmieding.

That as both leaders put their flocks first.

"Some of my members miss the building, but a majority of them are enjoying our online services and they understand it's not safe for in-person services right now," added Pastor Norris.

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