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Kentucky church 'excited' as parishioners return for in-person services

After a federal judge ruled churches in Commonwealth could return for in-person services, a Nicholasville church returned for socially distant services.

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. — The cars pulled in and parishioners went inside Tabernacle Baptist Church for the first time in nearly two months.

“I’m telling you, I’m so excited about today. I’m glad you are here,” Senior Pastor Dr. Lonnie Moore said via Facebook Live feed.

Preacher and parishioners alike, excited to be together again.

“It’s like being back together with your family,” Peggy Carpenter, a church-goer, said.

The reunion was made possible for churches across Kentucky because Tabernacle Baptist took the issue to court, arguing it was unconstitutional for Governor Andy Beshear to limit mass gatherings, which included in-person services for houses of worship. It’s something Beshear said as a man of faith himself, he didn’t do out of spite against religion but rather for the greater good, slowing the spread of the virus.

“And I hope that the actions of trying to speed this up by two weeks doesn't result in more people being lost,” Beshear said during his Saturday press briefing.

In an effort to do its part, the church spread out seating, offered masks and had several hand sanitizer stations.

While most wore masks, Carpenter was one of the few who didn’t.

“Wearing a mask can cause you to touch your face more. And for me that is true, because if I have something on my face, I'm gonna want to touch it. You know, and I just don't believe that you should have to wear a mask. If you don't choose to."

However, at the beginning of the service, a church leader read a statement saying the church hopes everyone will follow CDC guidelines including wearing a mask.

For Carpenter, she feels her church is smaller than a grocery store, so it feels just as safe if not safer.

 “If you can go to Walmart, you can go to Kroger or anywhere else. You should feel safe enough to go to church also,” she said.

Reporter Monica Harkins reached out to Dr. Moore and he said he’d prefer not to comment at this time.

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