coronavirus

Some North Texas Places of Worship Set to Reopen, Others Stay Online for Now

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Sunday after Sunday, the pews have been empty, the pulpits lonely.

But now, at some churches like True Grace in Grand Prairie, that's about to change.

"This Sunday we are going to coming back inside,” senior pastor Troy Hernandez said.

He said they'll make sure people are spaced apart and be extra cautious.

"We're going to encourage that all of the congregation and attendees wear a mask. We want everyone to be safe,” Hernandez said.

Bishop Michael Olson of the Fort Worth Catholic Diocese said his 91 parishes in 28 counties also are opening Sunday with precautions.

"It's still going to be a challenge for us with social distancing. We're going to have to discipline ourselves,” Olson said. "We need to do what we're supposed to do as the church and we need to do it as safely as possible.”

But for others, it's just too soon.

At the area's largest church, Gateway in Southlake, pastor Robert Morris decided to continue preaching online only through next month.

"And this is why. For the safety of our congregation and our community,” he said.

Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth will also stay online only.

"I yearn to be with my people,” Rev. Robert Pace said. “That's so much what we do. That's what the church is about."

Pace said he'd love to worship together again now, but decided waiting was the best decision.

"The health and the safety and the health of the people is also central and important and that's what goes through my mind,” he said.

Pace knows about coronavirus personally. He was Tarrant County's very first positive case and was hospitalized for 3 days.

About 75 leaders of all different faiths are urging Gov. Greg Abbott not to open up too quickly.

“We all long to return to our houses of worship, but our commitment to the health and well-being of our communities takes precedence,” they wrote in a letter obtained by NBC 5's media partner The Dallas Morning News.

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