STATEMENT OF CHURCHES IN THE GREATER HOUSTON AREA CONCERNING THE PACE OF RESUMING IN-PERSON WORSHIP

Written April 24, 2020; Published April 27, 2020

The pastors and leaders of the undersigned churches and Christian groups continue to pray for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are lifting up all those who are grieving, those who are sick, the front-line first responders, healthcare workers and others who are putting themselves at risk for the welfare of our communities.

Our congregations and organizations are working hard to find creative ways of ministering to our people and serving our communities. We are mobilizing our people to make masks to share with those who need them. We continue to reach out to our neighbors to meet their physical needs.

We appreciate Governor Abbott’s recognition of religious liberty, and that churches provide “essential services.” We also agree with our governmental leaders that the resumption of in-person gatherings for worship, study and fellowship needs to be intentionally slow and deliberately guided by medical expertise so that we do no harm as Christian communities.

We believe that in-person gatherings for worship that are larger than 50 persons should not take place in April or May. We will not have in-person worship but will continue offering worship online. In making this decision, we have the unanimous support of the leaders of the Texas Medical Center who strongly recommend these actions for all the faith communities of Greater Houston. We can see clearly at this time that resumption of larger group gatherings should not happen in the next six weeks. Deciding when to resume in-person worship for larger gatherings should be evaluated as new information about the rate of new cases and the availability of testing is available.

As pastors and leaders, we have all expressed a need for better insight and more guidance as we determine next steps. Over the next few weeks, we intend to share information and best practices with one another so that we can be faithful to our calling in Christ, guided by expert medical counsel and respectful to our government officials.

List of partnering denominational organizations and congregations:

DENOMINATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

  • Bishop Andy Doyle, Episcopal Diocese of Texas
  • Rev. Josh Ellis, PhD, Executive Director, Union Baptist Association
  • Rev. Lynn R. Hargrove, General Presbyter + Stated Clerk for Administrative Process, Presbytery of New Covenant, PC(USA)
  • Bishop Scott J. Jones, Texas Annual Conference, The United Methodist Church

CONGREGATIONS

  • Agape Community Bible Church
  • All Saints’ Episcopal Church – Hitchcock
  • Atascocita Presbyterian Church
  • Baptist Temple Church in the Heights
  • Bayou City Fellowship
  • Bering Memorial United Methodist Church
  • Bethany Baptist Church
  • Bissonnet Baptist Church
  • Cambodian Baptist Church of Houston
  • Chapelwood United Methodist Church
  • Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral – Houston
  • Cornerstone Church Ministries
  • Cypress Trails United Methodist Church
  • Ecclesia Houston
  • El Mesias United Methodist Church
  • Faithbridge Church
  • Faith United Methodist Church – Spring
  • Fellowship Community Baptist Church, Baytown
  • First Metropolitan Church
  • Free Indeed Church International
  • Garden Oaks Baptist Church
  • Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church
  • Good Shepherd Episcopal Church – Friendswood
  • Good Shepherd Episcopal Indian Church – Stafford
  • Grace Episcopal Church – Alvin
  • Grace Episcopal Church – Galveston
  • Grace Fellowship United Methodist Church – Katy
  • Grace Presbyterian Church
  • Harvest Point Fellowship
  • Higher Expectations Church
  • Houston Mennonite Church
  • Houston Northwest Church
  • Houston Praise And Worship Center
  • Humble First United Methodist Church
  • Iglesia Episcopal San Pedro – Pasadena
  • Jacinto City United Methodist Church
  • Jones Memorial United Methodist Church
  • Kingwood United Methodist Church
  • Klein United Methodist Church
  • Lake Houston United Methodist Church
  • Lakeland Missionary Baptist Church
  • Lakewood United Methodist Church
  • Long Point Baptist Church
  • Lord of the Streets Episcopal Mission – Houston
  • Neartown Church
  • New Beginning Community Baptist Church
  • Park Village Baptist Church
  • New Testament Baptist Church (Conroe)
  • Northside Episcopal Church
  • Northwoods Presbyterian Church
  • Nueva Creación United Methodist Church
  • Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church – Houston
  • Pleasant Hill Baptist
  • River Pointe Church
  • Riverside United Methodist Church
  • Second Baptist Channelview Church
  • Shaw Tabernacle United Methodist Church
  • Silverlake Church
  • Sloan United Methodist Church
  • South Main Baptist Church – Houston
  • South Main Baptist Church – Pasadena
  • Spring Woods United Methodist Church
  • St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church – Pearland
  • St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church – The Heights, Houston
  • St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church
  • St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church – Galveston
  • St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church – Houston
  • St. James the Apostle Episcopal Church – Conroe
  • St. John the Divine Episcopal Church – Houston
  • St. John’s Episcopal Church – Laporte
  • St. Luke’s United Methodist Church
  • St. Mark’s Episcopal Church – Richmond
  • St. Mark’s Episcopal Church – Houston
  • St. Mark’s United Methodist Church (Patterson)
  • St. Martin’s Episcopal Church – Houston
  • St. Paul’s United Methodist Church – Conroe
  • St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church – Houston
  • St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church
  • St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church – Nassau Bay
  • Strawbridge United Methodist Church – Kingwood
  • Sugar Land Baptist Church
  • Sweetwater Christian Church
  • Tallowood Baptist Church
  • The Church Without Walls
  • The MET Church
  • The Woodlands United Methodist Church
  • Trinity Episcopal Church – Baytown
  • Trinity Episcopal Church – Houston
  • Trinity Episcopal Church – Galveston
  • Trinity Episcopal Church – The Woodlands
  • Truevine Missionary Baptist Church
  • University Baptist Church
  • Webster Presbyterian Church
  • West University United Methodist Church
  • Westbury Baptist Church
  • Westbury United Methodist Church
  • Westminster United Methodist Church
  • Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church
  • Wilcrest Baptist Church
  • WoodsEdge Community Church