Congregations return to indoor church services, but with socially distanced changes

VINTON, Va. – Some sanctuaries in Virginia are open for worship once again.

Virginia’s Phase One reopening model, which took effect on Friday, allows churches to gather indoors at half capacity. Lighthouse Bible Church in Vinton jumped at the chance to reunite on Sunday after two months apart.

Pastor Jay Richards said his church had only met through livestreamed services in recent weeks. Richards said some churchgoers decided to stick to the livestream this Sunday, and many of the church members who came wore masks.

Richards stocked hand sanitizer and encouraged his congregation to physically spread out within the sanctuary. Despite the changes, he said seeing his people in the pews again is a monumental moment.

“Certainly as a pastor, I love the people. I wouldn’t pastor if I didn’t,” Richards said. “I love them, I love their faces, and it’s an exciting day.”

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