San Diego Churches React To New Guidelines Allowing Limited In-Person Services

Many San Diego area churches say they are not resuming in person services in the next week despite getting the green light to do so from Governor Newsom.

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There has been a lot of debate over the opening of churches across the United States and now Governor Newsom has said that churches are allowed to open back up for services, but at a limited capacity.

The new rules say that houses of worship must limit attendance to 25% of the building’s capacity or 100 congregants, whichever number is lower. The guidelines also recommend to avoiding things like passing around offering plates and even singing and not sharing religious items like holy books, rugs and cushions.

Pastor Miles McPherson from the Rock Church, one of the San Diego area's biggest churches, says he will not resume in person services soon.

"It doesn’t enable us to have church the way church is meant to happen," he said of the Governor's new guidelines.

Pre-pandemic the services had up to 20,000 people in attendance spread across five campuses. The biggest challenge McPherson foresees is trying to figure out exactly who can attend the services.

"People are coming and saying, 'Hey, I'm going to kill myself, I'm going to divorce my wife, I'm beating my kids, I need help.' Well no you can’t come in, that’s the reality, that’s what we’re dealing with," he said.

The Catholic Diocese of San Diego isn't going to be resuming daily services until June 8 and then they'll restart Sunday mass on June 14. While other churches across California have said they would open with or without the blessing of public health officials, the Catholic Church says they are being as cautious as possible.

"We’re for anything that promotes safety and that helps to minimize or prevent the spread of this virus. Protecting the common good is as Christian duty as offering Sunday Church services," said Kevin Eckery, spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of San Diego.

The California Department of Public Health has put these guidelines in place for 21 days and they will reassess after that time period and adjust the guidelines accordingly.

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