The Morning Journal | Richard Payerchin | June 21, 2020
One of the largest congregations in the area began reassembling for corporate worship with pandemic procedures in place.
On June 21, Church of the Open Door, 43275 Telegraph Road, Elyria, held its first in-person service in three months.
Like many houses of worship, the Christian church closed for gatherings on Sundays and during the week due to the shutdown orders to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Churches across the nation have begun reconvening worship services with precautions to guard against spread of COVID-19.
“Good morning!” said Lead Pastor Jim Mindling, and those in the auditorium responded with applause. “Boy, is it good to see people in here worshipping. So glad you’re here. And for those of you joining us online, we look forward to the day we can see you in person as well. It is so great to be together.
“We’ve missed each other, haven’t we?” he said, and the group voiced their affirmation. “I definitely have missed you and I’m so glad you’re here.”
The church’s worship team picked the perfect opening song for the day, Mindling said, citing the hymn’s first line.
“‘We’ve waited for this day, we’re gathered in your name’ — is that not perfect or what?” he said.
The church operates campuses in Avon Lake, Vermilion and Lorain. It began livestreaming services about two years ago, so was ready to broadcast and record services for remote viewing when the COVID-19 pandemic caused the closure, said church Executive Director Alex Marks.
He cited an analogy Mindling talked about two weeks earlier. Reconvening, members had feelings not unlike the parts of a race car — accelerator, brakes and clutch.
Some people wanted to gather immediately, some wanted to shut down for safety and some were shifting gears, Marks said.
He predicted some of the accelerator people would return immediately, while some of the brake people and clutch people would wait until they felt safe in public gatherings.