Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple holds Sunday service amid large event ban

53 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan as of Sunday night

DETROIT – For many Sunday morning, the lack of Sunday mass was the start of a new normal for the next few weeks.

The Archdiocese of Detroit announced Friday it would be suspending mass in its churches, but Detroit’s historic Greater Grace Temple did open its doors for worshipers Sunday.

RELATED: Religious services across Metro Detroit canceled due to coronavirus concerns

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, many people practiced social distancing to keep themselves protected, but some don’t want to distance themselves from their faith.

“I’m here because of my faith in the Lord,” said Joann brown. “I just believe that the word of God says that no plague shall come by there, so I’m just believing what God’s words say.”

“I don’t think it’s going to tarnish anything,” said David McElroy. “We’re going to do what we want to do and keep the faith and keep right on moving."

Bishop Charles H. Ellis III said there’s a reason the church must stay open through rough times -- As long as the count doesn’t exceed 250.

RELATED: Michigan Gov. Whitmer orders ban on all events with over 250 people due to coronavirus

“Let’s be clear, the church has always been a beacon of hope," Ellis said. “It’s always been that city that sits up on a hill, even in the midst of despair. Those lights have to be on.”

It was especially important for the lights to stay on this Sunday -- It was the celebration of Ellis’ father who led the church for 34 years.

“I have to think of all the things that they went through from 1962 to 1996 and they found a way to keep the church doors open and to keep the lights on and to keep the church as a symbol of hope,” Ellis said. “So, I’m like ‘Wow, this Sunday of all Sundays?’ We have to be open to make sure that light is still shining bright.”

Ellis said the church took precautions to limit potential exposure.

“We have gone through the steps to make sure that everything is sanitized," Ellis said. “If you look around you’ll see sanitizing stations. If you go to our restrooms, it’s soap everywhere.”

For more information about facility closures and event changes in Michigan, click here.

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