By Sean Streicher

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Empowerment Temple, one of the largest churches in the Baltimore area, reopened its doors to the general public on Sunday.

The church welcomed back members for the first time since March of 2020.

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“It’s a blessing to be able to come back to church. I’ve been missing this a long long time,” said Michael Johnson.

“It was outstanding,” said Gail Houston.

Pastor GJ Barnes acknowledges that they could’ve re-opened earlier but decided to wait for the safety of their members.

“We understand that in our community there was a Disproportionate impact to the coronavirus so we had a disproportionate response.,” said Pastor Barnes. “We waited and did a little bit more due diligence for safety measures.”

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Pastor Barnes also took time to remember the work they did to help their community get through the pandemic.

“One of the things we understood was that although we couldn’t bring people inside, we could still serve outside, and so we did a record number amount of food giveaways,” said Pastor Barnes.

The church also kicked off its summer camp. An affordable program that keeps kids active and engaged during the summer.

“Even for those who don’t have the funds we have scholarships funds available so that they can come in and have fun and learn a whole bunch of things here at the church,” Barnes added.

The church also introduced a new vision. They plan to add 5000 new members over the next five years.

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Sean Streicher