On the heels of the president's declaration that houses of worship are 'essential,' Tennessee churches are easing back open. 

"We had to learn to do church and everything we were doing at church in a very different way in about 48 hours." Senior Pastor Mike Glenn is ready to welcome his congregants back to Brentwood Baptist church after months of worship from home. "We’re going to ease back in."

Effective Friday, 89 Tennessee counties are back open. Churches though, were never really ordered to close. Earlier that day, President Trump urged the reopening of places of worship, calling them 'essential.'

"The governor’s been very good to churches during this time," Glenn said. "He’s never told us we couldn’t meet. He’s asked us to work with him."

News4 asked the Nashville Mayor's Office about their policy for faith-based gatherings. In their original order, they were prohibited. That order has since been amended and no longer applies to places of worship. 

Brentwood Baptist plans to hold their first in-person worship service since the pandemic began June 7. At half capacity, Glenn said it will look different.
"We won’t have a choir because, you know, you can’t have them six feet apart," he explained. "We’re not going to be passing the offering plate, or shaking hands, or anything like that. We’re trying to teach Baptists how to wave."
In fact, Glenn is prepared for church to never look the same again. 
"We will never go back normal," he said. "People have found out a lot of different things about how they can work together with Zoom and social media, how they can do worship very differently. One of the things we're scratching our heads about is, 'how do you count attendance for people at home?'" 

The Nashville Mayor's office sent News4 the following statement: 

"We know that many persons of faith deem communal religious observance to be essential. We hope that our faith communities that choose to physically gather will do so with safe social distancing measures and other public health protocols in place."

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