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World News

Warning to US churches as they open doors following Trump announcement

by Marcus Jones

Church leaders are encouraging individual churches to proceed with caution following Donald Trump's declaration that churches are essential services so are free to re-open.

Many say it's not right to rush to re-open doors for Sunday gatherings.

On Friday, the US President said: "We got to get our churches open."

"Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential. It's not right. So I'm correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential."

Churches have been closed for public services since the country went into lockdown back in March, but many have defied orders and opened regardless.

While many will re-open on Sunday, there's concern it could cause the coronavirus to spread once more.

Bishop Paul Egensteiner, who oversees the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's congregations in New York City, said: "Being at the epicentre of this pandemic and in order to protect our flock, we advise that congregations remain closed until more accurate and uniform information is provided."

Elsewhere, France allowed in-person services to resume starting on Saturday after a legal challenge to the government's ban on gatherings in places of worship.

One of the world's major pilgrimage sites is reopening on Sunday - the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.

(Additional reporting from Press Association)

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