▶️ Local churches playing it safe despite easing of Phase 2 restrictions

By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY

The Oregon Supreme Court announced they will uphold Governor Brown’s Stay Home order, which means churches cannot yet meet with their entire congregation.

While some local churches say they are going to continue abiding by the order, others are ready to get back to worship as usual.

Trinity Episcopal Church in Bend will continue to play it safe through online services.

“For the benefit of our neighbors, for the care of our own congregation, for the support of our medical community in town, we needed to be really careful and so we’ve been very cautious,” Father Jed Holdorph said.

Central Oregon has moved into Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, which limits indoor public gatherings to 50 people.

Holdorph said he finds the governor’s order reasonable.

“It’s not a religious restriction,” Holdorph said. “I feel like we’ve been treated the same as any other similar kind of gathering.”

Riverbend Church took to social media to announce the beginning of outdoor services next week.

Phase 2 allows for outdoor gatherings of up to 250 people with certain restrictions.

“We are so excited to announce that not this weekend, but next weekend, June 21, we are going to start meeting again in groups of 250 people,” a Riverbend Church representative said.

Shortly after the video was posted, Riverbend leaders were told that the Bend Park and Recreation District is not yet allowing a group that large.

“Our ambition is just to as best we can gather people to celebrate their faith and inspire community and all that,” Riverbend Church Pastor Andrew Rothrock said. “We’re having to roll with the punches here just like everyone else.”

Rothrock says the likely solution will be to hold multiple, smaller indoor services.

Riverbend Church will begin their services next Sunday, with location and capacity to be determined. As for Trinity Episcopal Church, their services will continue to be online.

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