Metro Detroit churches prepare to welcome Easter crowds amid COVID pandemic

DETROIT – Health Experts are still warning about big gatherings as we head into Easter Sunday. Greater Grace Temple is expecting hundreds on Resurrection Sunday, in a space that can fill thousands.

April 3, 2021: Michigan coronavirus cases up to 692,206; Death toll now at 16,218

Saturday, the Greater Grace Temple Music Arts Department geared up for the biggest day on the Christian calendar, Easter Sunday.

“We’re going to have our praise dancers, there’s going to be dancing, of course, abbreviated,” said Bishop Charles H. Ellis, III. “Our choir is abbreviated, we actually just recorded an album a couple of Saturdays ago.”

Bishop Charles H. Ellis, III, with Greater Grace Temple on West Seven Mile Road, said they’re known for executive elaborate productions on Easter Sunday, but this year, that won’t be happening.

“I’m not expecting there will be 2,000 or 1,000 people here,” Bishop Ellis said. “If we have 400-500 people, we’ll have plenty of room.”

Bishop Ellis said there will be many changes for those attending service for Resurrection Sunday. You have to wear a mask. Every other row will be blocked off. Temperatures will be taken at the door. You must use hand sanitizer before entering. Most importantly there will be no contact inside the sanctuary.

“This pandemic has caused us to do things totally different,” Bishop Ellis said. “I think we’ve done a great job at Greater Grace Temple.”

But as the COVID numbers continue to go up here in Michigan, both state and national leaders -- including Dr. Matthew Sims with Beaumont Health -- are urging people not to gather in large crowds Easter Weekend.

“Any gathering -- doesn’t matter if it’s for religious holiday or its for a BBQ or it’s for a sporting event -- any large gathering of people where there are close proximity to each other is dangerous,” said Dr. Sims, Director of Infectious Disease Research Beaumont Health. “We need to do two things, we need to prevent the contact and we need to vaccinate as many as people as possible. Those are the only two things that are going to slow the progression of this,.

Bishop Ellis said they will continue ‘Outdoor Services’ on Sundays for the rest of the summer.

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