Despite a call from President Donald Trump that governors reopen houses of worship “right now,” churches whose predominantly black and Hispanic congregations have been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic say they will remain closed because the virus has not yet been contained.
The Church of God in Christ, America’s largest Pentecostal denomination with some 8.8 million members who are predominantly black, released a statement Friday in response to Trump’s call, noting that their reopening will be guided by the advice of state and federal public health agencies.
“The past few months have been a season of great difficulty for our nation and our world. The United States has endured several viral pandemics in the previous 100 years. Still, there has never been a time when a viral illness has wrought such a profoundly negative impact on our communities as COVID-19, the Coronavirus,” COGIC, led by Bishop Charles Blake Sr., said.
“The Church of God in Christ family has been no exception. Bishops, superintendents, pastors, and lay members have succumbed to this disease, leaving their families and churches devastated by their untimely passing,” it continued, acknowledging the denomination’s significant loss to the coronavirus which has disproportionately impacted black and Hispanic communities.