Knox County in Tennessee, which includes Knoxville, has told businesses to open May 1, but churches are forbidden from serving Communion because it’s not deemed as “core worship.”
Worshippers were originally told they could reopen May 1 in coordination with Tennessee’s reopening plans decreed by Governor, but Knox County has its own health department and was allowed to implement a plan that’s different from the state overall. Gyms, salons, and restaurants will be allowed to open on that date.
However, worshippers are being told that if they think the reopening applies to churches to think again. They might be able to meet, but can’t observe communion.
The order was issued by Charity Menefee, KCHD Regional Hospital Coordinator who said, “We understand this can be confusing.”
Simply put, the Knox County Health Department has declared that the Lord’s Supper is not “core worship.” According to 10News, an NBC affiliate…
Knox County’s plan indicates only “core worship” services will be permitted in Phase One. That means activities such as groups and classes, youth services, potlucks, or other social events are not permitted during this phase.
The physical taking of sacraments, like communion, will not be permitted under Phase One. Those types of rituals, the county said, break social distancing guidelines which will still be maintained.
For many Christians, Communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper, is the most essential act of worship and many believe it should be observed every week. In fact, many confessions of faith indicate that it’s not really church without it.
Why is a county health department determining what is and what is not “core worship?”
The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”