Churches work to reopen after Trump declares them essential

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - President Donald Trump on Friday labeled churches and other houses of worship as “essential" and called on governors nationwide to let them reopen this weekend even though some areas remain under Coronavirus lockdown.

Courtesy: Central Church

But does that mean those in Sioux Falls will open?

Although President Trump demanded that churches and houses of worship open this weekend; doesn’t mean they have to.

The President said Friday, “Today I’m identifying houses of worship, churches, synagogues, and mosques as essential places that provide essential services.”

Central Church in Sioux Falls adapted to a completely online format when the pandemic hit, and the church says this time has given them a chance to get creative.

Central Church’s Executive Pastor Tom Rich said, “When things get harder, and things become more difficult overall for the church to thrive, we actually see another level of creativity emerge. It allows us to reach more people that maybe we wouldn’t have.”

Tom Rich is the Executive Pastor at Central Church and says the decision to stay online was to prevent shutting down again.

“We wanted to pay attention to how the city opened up in the middle of May because we didn’t want to open up too soon, and then if COVID-19 had another widespread effect on our city then we would have to shut down again,” said Rich.

Central Church says they will open their doors to 50% capacity on June 6th. However, Ransom Church staff in Sioux Falls will welcome their congregation back this Sunday.

Ransom Church’s Founding Pastor Phill Tague said, “We will only open the doors a few minutes before the service and usher people out so we can clean between services, and then there is limited seating. We’ve put spacing between rows and different things like that so families can socially distance while they worship.”

Ransom Church adapted to online services as well, so even though the doors will be open, doesn’t mean you have to go.

"Everything that we’ve been offering online, none of it goes away we’ll have kids' ministry online and all of that. For families who want to stay they can stay, for families who want to come they can come, really, we are just looking at it as we’re here and when you’re ready we’re ready,” said Tague.

Both Ransom and Central Church say they are following government leadership closely and say they are making the best decisions for the community.