As COVID-19 casualties are rapidly declining, houses of worship are taking steps to resume in-person worship services. Among them are Greater Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in South L.A (GEMBC).
According to Pastor DeNon A. Porter, GEMBC will return to in-person worship on Sunday, June 6, at 11 a.m., however, a number of protocols have been implemented to ensure the health and safety of the congregation. Porter explained that it was after deliberate and careful consideration that he and the church leadership decided to reopen the sanctuary to members and friends.
Outlining some of the factors that influenced the decision, the pastor said, “We were blessed to be able to call upon the expertise of some of the medical professionals in our congregation. Together with them, we have been prayerfully monitoring the infection and hospitalization rates in the county and have tried to stay on top of the latest guidelines on the local, state, and national level.
“As the numbers have steadily decreased alongside the increase in vaccinations, we feel that the Lord has given the green light to begin the process of coming back.”
Porter said that since the building will initially open at 25% capacity, attendees must “pre-register the week before the service.” Although vaccinations are not required, the pastor stated, “but we strongly encourage it.”
Many of the health measures instituted over the past year will be mandatory for attendees as well, such as checking temperatures and completing a COVID screening form at the entry site. Also, social distancing procedures recommended by the Centers for Disease and Control will be implemented.
Porter said that translates to “six feet of distance between parishioners from different households, with masks required at all times for adults and children over two-years-old.” He added that hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout the sanctuary.
Like many churches, GEMBC has maintained an active virtual ministry during the pandemic, including online Sunday worship, Bible Studies and other activities. As one of the larger congregations in South L.A., Greater Ebenezer has a long history of positively impacting the surrounding neighborhood through a variety of community outreach and evangelism programs.
Greater Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church is located at 5300 South Denker Avenue in Los Angeles. To learn more, visit gembcla.org.