There’s good news and bizarre news for Christians who live in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The government will allow you to return to your church house on May 1st, but there are a number of rules, regulations and hoops you will have to jump through to make that happen.
City and county leaders released a lengthy list of guidelines for church members and pastors. Click here to read the full list.
I was particularly curious about an edict from government leaders banning what we in the Baptist faith tradition call The Lord’s Supper.
“The physical taking of communion/sacrament should not be performed due to the serial breaking of physical distancing across a congregation,” the document states.
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Instead, the health department recommended that the Baptists, Methodists and Catholics “consider guiding parishioners in how to connect with the spiritual aspects of these practices during this phase.”
What in the name of Billy Graham are they talking about?
The city of Knoxville also told churches to remove communal items like hymnals and Bibles.
“Singing is discouraged as it is thought to be an activity that expels significantly more virus than talking,” the edict states.
Oh, no offering plates either.
“If applicable, use a donation box instead of tithe plate,” the government suggests.
And it’s flat-out forbidden for anyone to extend the right hand of Christian fellowship or to greet one another with a holy kiss.
“Treat every parishioner and employee as if they are potentially infectious,” the government warned. “Seating areas should be marked off to ensure six feet of physical distancing in all directions between households.”
I’m surprised the government’s not requiring churches to pay a ten percent pew tax.