CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On Sunday, churches in North Carolina had the option to hold indoor services for the first time in two months.
Just 24 hours earlier, a federal judge sided with some church leaders over Governor Roy Cooper’s order limiting gatherings to 10 people or less.
The church leaders who filed the suit say the governor’s order limited their right to worship freely and treated churches differently from retailers and other activities.
Sunday, Harvest Church Charlotte opened its doors to church-goers and to WCNC.
“It just made my heart feel so good,” Harvest Church congregant Tammy Carter said.
The move to block Governor Cooper’s order didn’t give a lot of notice for Sunday's services, but Harvest Church was ready.
“My reaction was – YES, we’re having church!” Pastor Tom Chidester said. “We’ve been anticipating come back together as a church, and have been prepared.”
All of the church’s doors were left open. Hand sanitizer, surgical gloves, and even N95 masks were available for everyone. Once inside the congregants socially distances themselves.
“I feel as though it’s safer to come here this morning, in the church, than it is to go to the grocery store and buy a loaf of bread,” Pastor Chidester said.
While Harvest Church Charlotte decided to move forward with in-person service, Pastor Chidester says he understands anyone who feels more comfortable staying home and watching online.
Tammy Carter says the decision to come to church in-person was easy.
“Watching online, you get the message, and that’s great, but it just feels so much different to be actually in church and seeing your church family,” Carter said.
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