Detroit pastor takes lead to help stop spread of germs amid coronavirus outbreak

Bishop Ellis discourages hugs, handshakes

DETROIT – As the leader of Greater Grace Temple, one of the largest churches in Metro Detroit, it’s Bishop Charles H. Ellis III’s job to not only preach to thousands of people every Sunday, but to make sure they’re safe as well.

“I’m taking the lead as the pastor here. I’m not going to hug people. I’m not going to shake hands. I’m not going to embrace you, and I love you to life, but I think I need to set the example,” Ellis said.

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Those are just some of the changes Ellis is making at Greater Grace Temple in light of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Metro Detroit. Ellis said it’s common practice to give hugs and handshakes to other church members, but he wants everyone to be smart, health-wise, at least for now.

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“If we can refrain from huggy feely and touching and shaking hands then we should do that,” Ellis said.

There were noticeable precautions at the church, like hand sanitizer stations at the doors and in the restrooms.

“I think this is very scary. I think we all need to take it very seriously because medical science doesn’t have a handle on it. Let’s police ourselves in a very sensitive and medically responsible way to make sure that, well, I got a little cough today but it’s no big thing. Well, maybe you just need to think about maybe sitting it out today,” Ellis said.

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