A local mayor has ended his community’s stay-at-home order for local Churches.
St. Anne Mayor David O’Connell announced the village would not close any churches that chose to meet just one day into May’s stay-at-home order in Illinois.
“I am stating that all our Churches, the Baptist Church, Catholic Church and the Presbyterian Church are free to start having services again as soon as this Sunday. The Village will not interfere with any church service.” O’Connell announced via Facebook Friday night.
The announcement undercuts State officials trying to contain a pandemic and hundreds of health workers at AMITA St. Mary’s and Riverside Healthcare trying to fight the virus. While simultaneously dishonoring the now 29 lives lost to COVID-19 in O’Connell’s home County, Kankakee.
As of Saturday night, not one of the three area Churches seemed to agree with his cause.
First Baptist Church of St. Anne followed up the statement Saturday in a “Response to Mayor David O’Connell’s post” that services on Sunday will continue online as elders will meet to consider the Mayor’s proposal for the following week.
“Please know that the idea of quarantine was always to “flatten the curve”. This is code for extending the cases over a manageable period of time. The danger from COVID-19 is still very much with us,” said First Baptist of St. Anne said Saturday. “States that reopened in the last week or so, like Georgia, have seen spikes in their COVID cases (Georgia saw 1,000 cases in one day).”
Pastor Mike of First Presbyterian Church of St. Anne said Saturday afternoon, “After consulting with the church elders we have decided it would be in everyone’s best interests’ to delay our reopening until a later date.”
At St. Anne Catholic Church, parishioners seemed unfazed by the announcement. All services per Diocese of Joliet have been suspended but continue to allow curbside communion during the pandemic.
Kankakee County is already well versed in the dangers of communal infection. It currently plays host six long-term care facilities which on Saturday combine for 88 cases and 12 deaths. That does not include the State run Shaprio facility which hosts over 100 COVID-19 cases, along with the National Guard.
“It is my belief that we need Gods guidance in our lives more than ever at this time,” O’Connell said Friday.
At this time, all his local churches seem to agree with him in that stance, but understand dangers a pandemic plays in the community. The churches will continue worship through an online-only forum.