NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump held a call with faith leaders on Friday that included discussion about a phased-in return to broader in-person worship after weeks of religious services largely shifting online in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump’s call with faith leaders came one day after the White House included houses of worship among “large venues” that could be able to reopen while observing “strict physical distancing protocols” in the first stage of a three-part plan to reopen a U.S. economy that’s been frozen by the toll of the highly contagious virus.
The call included representatives of multiple Christian denominations as well as Jewish and Islamic leaders, according to a statement distributed by the White House.
Participants in the call with faith leaders said it featured discussion about how restarting in-person worship could work, without any conclusion reached, and underscored their commitment to not imperiling the health of the faithful. Indeed, Trump has said that governors would be empowered to spearhead their states’ paces of economic reopening.
The faith leaders’ conversation with Trump is not the only sign that religious leaders are beginning to explore how to resume in-person worship services. The Christian executive search firm Vanderbloemen has launched ReopeningChurch.com and ReopeningSchool.com websites to start a conversation on that process.