North Houston church reopens for Palm Sunday despite coronavirus fears

Glorious Way Church in north Harris County re-opened their building for worship on Palm Sunday.

“We thank our good Governor,” said Glorious Way Pastor John Greiner in the church’s Sunday service. “He woke up this week and altered something that helped us to be here legally. We were prepared to be here otherwise, but we don’t have to be. We’re legal.”

We’re told that roughly 100 people attended the Sunday service, despite community concerns of spreading Coronavirus COVID-19.

With “Stay Home” orders in place across Texas, Governor Greg Abbott issued an order last week that includes churches on a list of businesses considered “essential” and able to operate.

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“We’re one nation under God,” said Greiner in Sunday’s service. “We can’t put God in a box over here and say only online.”

Throughout the last week, Greiner expressed frustrations online with the “Stay Home, Work Safe” order issued in Harris County. A list of essential businesses allowed to operate in Harris County originally didn’t include places of worship. On Friday, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo made a change to the order, allowing religious centers to hold worship if they can’t stream online.

“They’re trying to keep a lid on this disease,” said Greiner. “I want to make the case today that you can’t keep the church out of that. It’s got to be the leader.”

On Sunday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner visited Fountain of Praise Church while they streamed services online. County leaders remain hopeful that churches will continue with online streaming.

“They’re streaming online their message this morning,” said Turner. “It’s very strong. I want to thank the pastors of this church for working with all of us.”

With roughly 100 people in the building, Glorious Way church also streamed its service on Facebook for Palm Sunday. The maximum penalty for not following the “Stay Home, Work Safe” order is 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.