MONROE — Some congregations throughout Ohio are stirring controversy by continuing in-person services despite Gov. Mike DeWine’s order banning such large gatherings.
Solid Rock Church in Monroe is among those churches that took advantage of an exemption from the order.
Church leaders have had people in their edifice each of the last two weeks.
The controversy is that hundreds of people continue to be shoulder-to-shoulder and shake hands and hug during the church service. That activity goes against a state health department order and CDC recommendations that people should practice social distance and should not gather in groups of 10 or more.
Solid Rock did not archive its Sunday morning live stream service after a Facebook post announcing it sparked an estimated 3,000 negative comments.
One woman wrote “you have a moral obligation to protect your flock…God gave us brains to use them.”
The governor, who exempted religious organizations from his order, said he wasn’t pleased.
“Whether it’s in a church or no matter where it is, it’s dangerous, it’s just dangerous,” he said Sunday during his daily news conference on the coronarvirus pandemic.
“I would implore ministers, priests, rabbis, everyone to think about your congregation,” he said. Church leaders posted a statement on the church website that reads, in part, “There is no pressure from Solid Rock Church to require anyone to come our services. We are respectful of every individual’s right to choose either to come to our service or to watch online. We do believe that it is important for our doors to remain open for whomever to come to worship and pray during this time of great challenge in our country.”