BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As churches across the country turn to online services, Friendship Baptist Church in north Baltimore is still doing services in person.
“This is Palm Sunday and Jesus didn’t go online when he entered into Jerusalem,” said Pastor Alwin Gwynn.
Police responded to the church last weekend to let the churchgoers know they were violating the governor’s stay-at-home order but Pastor Gwynn said they were and are continuing to follow all guidelines.
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“The Bible says ‘Forsake not the gathering of yourselves together,’” explained Pastor Gwynn, “We’re practicing all the rules from the CDC. We have to wear masks, we’ve got protection on, we’re staying 6 feet apart from each.”
For Palm Sunday, people entered the front of the church, received their palm and exited out the back. The process took a matter of minutes and Pastor Gwynn said they never allowed more than 10 people inside at a time.
”I’ve got police officers counting them one in the front counting who goes in, another officer in the back counting who goes out,” he said.
Members of the Baltimore City Police Department and the Baltimore Fire Department stood across the streets.
For those going in, many wore masks and gloves and said the police presence was a little odd.
“You go to the liquor store, there’s no police there, but you can’t come to church,” said Floid McPherson.
When asked about having concerns regarding COVID-19, some said it’s no different than going to the grocery store or riding public transportation.
Friendship Baptist Church estimates a few hundred people turned out for Palm Sunday.