BERLIN, N.J. - A Camden County church reopened Sunday morning despite New Jersey's ongoing stay-at-home orders amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Solid Rock Baptist Church, located in Berlin, began its Sunday Service at 10 a.m. although Gov. Murphy has yet to deem churches essential during the health crisis.
In a letter on behalf of Pastor Charles Clarke III addressed to Gov. Murphy, legal counsel urged the importance of religious counsel as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.
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In part the letter reads:
“You have indicated through executive orders that churches in the State of New Jersey are non-essential and must remain closed. This misrepresentation of churches should be addressed post hate. That religious assemblies, guaranteed by the First Amendment and every state’s constitution, are not considered essential services while New Jersey categorizes liquor stores, marijuana dispensaries, many stores and many businesses as essential is completely indefensible from a legal and viewpoint. Hundreds of pastors and churches believe that they have a constitutional right to worship.”
Still, church officials have instituted several new health guidelines and measures in order to lessen the risk of exposure or spread of COVID-19.
As such, churchgoers must wear masks and can expect temperature checks before entering the chapel.
Six foot spacers have been placed in each pew to enforce social distancing rules dictated by the CDC.
The doors will remain open to prevent people from touching the handles and there will be no passing of the collection plate.
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