FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — Cornerstone church in downtown Fresno resumed in-person services Sunday morning. It’s the first time the congregation has gathered since being forced to close in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is a blessing, it’s a blessing, I feel it’s essential, it’s one of the essential things we need for our spiritual being,” said congregation member Martha Grijalva.
The gathering reflecting the new normal, people wearing masks and green x’s on the ground to help maintain social distancing as people checked in.
The church says congregation members had to pre-register in order to attend either of the two services.
The church normally seats about 1,400 people, but because of requirements posted by the state only 25 percent capacity is allowed, which means 350 people.
But, this reopening comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing the state to impose restrictions on worship services to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“The devil thought us he would keep us out of the church and he tried everything to do that, but I want the devil to know we’re here today, oh there’s more than 120 of us, there’s 25 percent of the capacity of this building for all the government officials that are watching,” said Cornerstone church Pastor Jim Franklin.
Inside the church, the seating spaced out, signs posted on the chairs indicating where not to sit.
“It’s different but whatever it takes for me to be in the body of Christ to be here to worship God,” said congregation member Aurora Pizano.
Church members we spoke with say they are not worried about being exposed to the virus.
“I don’t see it any different than going anywhere else in the public you know, here we’re following some guidelines just like you would at Target,” Pizano said.
The church says they will continue to stream services online and plan on holding two more in-person services, next Sunday.