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Published 5/22/2020

President Calls on Governors to Classify Places of Worship as Essential

President Says Governors Should Allow Churches to Open "Right Now"



On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released "Interim Guidelines for Communities of Faith" in response to COVID-19, acknowledging that "Millions of Americans embrace worship as an essential part of life."

President Trump referenced this new guidance in a call to Governors across the nation to immediately allow houses of worship to reopen.

The President said "In America, we need more prayer, not less."

The CDC guidelines advise religious institutions to promote healthy hygiene practices like washing hands, providing soap, sanitizer, tissues and no-touch trash cans; to encourage the use of cloth face coverings; to intesify cleaning, disinfection and ventilation; to promote social distancing with physical guides like signs and tape on floors, to consider outdoor services, drive-in services or additional weekly services to support social distancing initiatives and to consider limiting or suspending congregational or choral singing temporarily, as singing may contribute to the spread of COVID-19 through emission of aerosols; to minimize the sharing of worship materials and other items and observing additional CDC guidelines regarding nursery and youth program and staff and training.

Read the full CDC Interim Guidelines for Communities of Faith

Pastor Jason Georges of Immanuel Baptist Church in Corunna is among many faith leaders who say it's time for churches to open now.  Georges spoke during a rally for Owosso barber, Karl Manke, earlier this week.  Georges said "The message that churches need to be preaching right now is 'faith over fear,'" adding that opening up is the thing that churches ought to be doing.  But there are also many in the faith community that disagree.

Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, released a statement in response to the President's announcement that reads, in part:

Faith is essential and community is necessary; however, neither requires endangering the people who seek to participate in them. Protecting the most vulnerable among us is a value shared by every faith tradition. 

The virus does not discriminate between types of gatherings, and neither should the president."

Read Rabbi Moline's full statement here



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Update 5/17/2020

The State of Michigan has suspended Owosso barber, Karl Manke's license, over his defiance of the Governor's Executive Order restricting the operation of such businesses.  A Dallas Texas salon owner who was jailed for violating a similar order is reportedly traveling to Owosso to show Manke support.  Manke closed temporarily on Friday but said he planned to reopen on Monday.

A Grosse Pointe priest is a social media star after images of him blessing Easter baskets with a squirt gun filled with holy water surfaced online.  St. Ambrose Church posted the images on social media of the Reverand Tim Pelc.

Significant flooding is expected in towns along Lake Michigan as a rain and storm system hovers across much of the state beginning Sunday.  Most of the lower peninsula will receive up to two inches by Tuesday.  Some areas, however, could see as much as four.

Two children were rescued from a burning home in Detroit.  A two and four year old were in the home alone when the fire started.  Thanks to a neighbor's quick 911 call when she heard the home's smoke detectors, firefighters discovered the children upon entry.  The neighbor did not know anyone was in the home.

A rally is planned for Rosa Parks Circle on Monday.  Organizers are unhappy with Governor Whitmer's executive orders.  More than 1,000 people are expected at the event entitled "American Patriot Rally - Sheriffs Speak Out."  Organizers say the intended message is to encourage law enforcement to uphold the constitution.

Two people were rescued when a canoe capsized in the Grand River in Lansing on Saturday.  The pair were stranded on a downed tree.  Delta Township Fire, EMS and Eaton County Sheriffs Department responded.

A customer at a Flint liquor store was shot after engaging in a scuffle with a security guard.  Unhappy with limited access to the store due to COVID-19, the man reportedly struck the guard several times.  After the guard pulled out a gun, the man struck the guard again, causing the weapon to fire.  Police say they believe the bullet ricocheted off the ground before it struck the man in the ankle.

A police chase that began in Mackinac County took officers across the Mackinac Bridge.  The suspect vehicle crashed through the toll gate but continued to run from authorities before the driver lost control and rolled over.  The initial attempt to stop the vehicle was in response to a domestic violence call.  The suspect left the scene with a child.  The child suffered minor injuries in the crash.