As churches across Maryland and the rest of the nation hold virtual services during the coronavirus pandemic, at least one pastor in northeast Baltimore is not closing his doors amid Gov. Larry Hogan’s mandatory stay-at-home order. He also had some calming words of reassurance and simple good sense.
For the second Sunday morning in a row police were outside Friendship Baptist Church, where the Rev. Alvin Gwynn Sr. is keeping the church open, this time for Palm Sunday.
“I rearranged my service structure so I could accommodate a lot of people,” he told FOX 45 in Baltimore. “It’s more of a procession than a sit down service. They’re coming in four, five at a time. They’re getting their palms and exiting on the side exit.”
Reverend Gwynn says he’s working together with the police, and that they are not opposed to each other.
“They’re here to protect us. I spoke to the major during this week and we talked about what we were having and what I wanted to do. I said I’ll take care of the inside. You guys take care of the outside,” Gwynn explained.
After police showed up last Sunday, Gwynn told Fox45 he planned to hold regular services amid the coronavirus outbreak and that he’s still complying with the governor’s mandate of no gatherings over ten people.
“We’re controlling it on both sides. The parking lot on the front and in the rear. I got people stationed there so we keep everything under control. As you can see, I’ve got enough police here.”
He kept his church open until 2 o’clock Sunday afternoon.
Asked why he isn’t moving services online, he explained: “At this time when people are upset and confused and uncertain, we want to help to add peace and calm to our city. To let people know that everything’s gonna be all right. God is still in charge.”