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Some churches to hold Easter services despite Beshear, Fischer's recommendations

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has recommended both no in-person and drive-thru services.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Holy Week might feel different this year as coronavirus changes the way many people worship.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer held a virtual panel discussion with several faith leaders to stress the importance of not holding in-person services. 

"The coronavirus doesn't care about traditions," Fischer said. "The population density in Louisville is about 17 times greater than Kentucky as a whole."

Some places of worship had opted for drive-thru services, but Fischer said drive-thru service still should not be considered safe social distancing.

While many faith leaders are leaning on technology to reach members, livestreaming services on Facebook or their website, two area churches said they will continue to hold in-person service.

Pastor Wilbur Browning Sr. at Centennial Olivet Baptist Church has been holding in-person services since mid-March.

"We do think that this virus is serious, but don't think that it is any more serious than any other virus or influenza that we've dealt with in the past," Browning said.

Browning's congregation is about 15 to 25 people.

"We are worshippers of God, we are God people, and we believe in what God directs us to his holy word, and so we conduct ourselves according to that," Browning said. 

Despite Fischer's recommendations, Browning said he will hold services on Easter Sunday. Maryville Baptist Church in Bullitt County said they will also keep their doors open this weekend.

"We are a very small congregation and we have a very intimate setting. I mean these are not people who are strangers to me or to other members of the congregation; we're very simple people, I mean, we're not out and about and we're not mixing with a whole lot of kinds of people in the city."

Centennial Olivet Baptist Church said they frequently sanitize the building and they make sure those with pre-existing respiratory conditions stay at home to watch their online services. 

Gov. Andy Beshear has repeatedly asked leaders not hold in-person services, saying leaders could be putting their congregation at risk. Beshear said there has already been confirmed COVID-19 cases in Kentucky passed through church members. 

“We have examples of the virus being passed at church services and people dying from it," Beshear said. "My faith would never allow me to do that. It would tell me to love my neighbor as myself."

RELATED: Defiant pastor holds in-person church services despite Kentucky governor's executive order

RELATED: How religious leaders are responding to coronavirus

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