Churches holding services say they're taking precautions

  • Sonia Falk prays during Memorial Service at Lakewood Chapel Church in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020. At a news conference Friday, Trump said state governors need to "do the right thing" and open houses of worship. Later, the CDC posted nonbonding guidance for faith institutions considering reopening, including use of masks and limiting the size of gatherings.

    Sonia Falk prays during Memorial Service at Lakewood Chapel Church in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020. At a news conference Friday, Trump said state governors need to "do the right thing" and open houses of worship. Later, the CDC posted nonbonding guidance for faith institutions considering reopening, including use of masks and limiting the size of gatherings. Associated Press

  • Anita Edwards, center and Lakewood Chapel Church members pray during a Memorial Day service in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020, while wearing masks and observing social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Anita Edwards, center and Lakewood Chapel Church members pray during a Memorial Day service in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020, while wearing masks and observing social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. Associated Press

  • Pastor John Elleson, left, and Sonia Falk pray during Memorial Day Service at Lakewood Chapel Church in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020.

    Pastor John Elleson, left, and Sonia Falk pray during Memorial Day Service at Lakewood Chapel Church in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020. Associated Press

  • Pastor John Elleson's wife Sue Elleson prays during a Memorial Day service at Lakewood Chapel Church in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020. At a news conference Friday, President Donald Trump said state governors need to "do the right thing" and open houses of worship. Later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted nonbonding guidance for faith institutions considering reopening, including use of masks and limiting the size of gatherings.

    Pastor John Elleson's wife Sue Elleson prays during a Memorial Day service at Lakewood Chapel Church in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020. At a news conference Friday, President Donald Trump said state governors need to "do the right thing" and open houses of worship. Later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted nonbonding guidance for faith institutions considering reopening, including use of masks and limiting the size of gatherings. Associated Press

  • Lakewood Chapel Church members pray during a Memorial Day service in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020. At a news conference Friday, President Donald Trump said state governors need to "do the right thing" and open houses of worship. Later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted nonbonding guidance for faith institutions considering reopening, including use of masks and limiting the size of gatherings.

    Lakewood Chapel Church members pray during a Memorial Day service in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020. At a news conference Friday, President Donald Trump said state governors need to "do the right thing" and open houses of worship. Later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted nonbonding guidance for faith institutions considering reopening, including use of masks and limiting the size of gatherings. Associated Press

  • Lakewood Chapel Church members attend for Memorial Service in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020. At a news conference Friday, Trump said state governors need to "do the right thing" and open houses of worship. Later, the CDC posted nonbonding guidance for faith institutions considering reopening, including use of masks and limiting the size of gatherings.

    Lakewood Chapel Church members attend for Memorial Service in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020. At a news conference Friday, Trump said state governors need to "do the right thing" and open houses of worship. Later, the CDC posted nonbonding guidance for faith institutions considering reopening, including use of masks and limiting the size of gatherings. Associated Press

  • Bob Repa waits for Memorial Service at Lakewood Chapel Church in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020. At a news conference Friday, Trump said state governors need to "do the right thing" and open houses of worship. Later, the CDC posted nonbonding guidance for faith institutions considering reopening, including use of masks and limiting the size of gatherings.

    Bob Repa waits for Memorial Service at Lakewood Chapel Church in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020. At a news conference Friday, Trump said state governors need to "do the right thing" and open houses of worship. Later, the CDC posted nonbonding guidance for faith institutions considering reopening, including use of masks and limiting the size of gatherings. Associated Press

  • A Lakewood Chapel Church member watches the screen during Memorial Service in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020. At a news conference Friday, Trump said state governors need to "do the right thing" and open houses of worship. Later, the CDC posted nonbonding guidance for faith institutions considering reopening, including use of masks and limiting the size of gatherings.

    A Lakewood Chapel Church member watches the screen during Memorial Service in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020. At a news conference Friday, Trump said state governors need to "do the right thing" and open houses of worship. Later, the CDC posted nonbonding guidance for faith institutions considering reopening, including use of masks and limiting the size of gatherings. Associated Press

  • Pastor John Elleson's wife Sue Elleson, left, Daniel Meeks, center, and Ruth Smith pray during Memorial Service at Lakewood Chapel Church in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020. At a news conference Friday, Trump said state governors need to "do the right thing" and open houses of worship. Later, the CDC posted nonbonding guidance for faith institutions considering reopening, including use of masks and limiting the size of gatherings.

    Pastor John Elleson's wife Sue Elleson, left, Daniel Meeks, center, and Ruth Smith pray during Memorial Service at Lakewood Chapel Church in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020. At a news conference Friday, Trump said state governors need to "do the right thing" and open houses of worship. Later, the CDC posted nonbonding guidance for faith institutions considering reopening, including use of masks and limiting the size of gatherings. Associated Press

  • Pastor John Elleson's wife Sue Elleson, left, helps a new member Katie Dougherty to attend a Memorial Day service at Lakewood Chapel Church in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020.

    Pastor John Elleson's wife Sue Elleson, left, helps a new member Katie Dougherty to attend a Memorial Day service at Lakewood Chapel Church in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020. Associated Press

  • Lakewood Chapel Church members pray during Memorial Service in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020. At a news conference Friday, Trump said state governors need to "do the right thing" and open houses of worship. Later, the CDC posted nonbonding guidance for faith institutions considering reopening, including use of masks and limiting the size of gatherings.

    Lakewood Chapel Church members pray during Memorial Service in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020. At a news conference Friday, Trump said state governors need to "do the right thing" and open houses of worship. Later, the CDC posted nonbonding guidance for faith institutions considering reopening, including use of masks and limiting the size of gatherings. Associated Press

  • Pastor John Elleson, left, walks in as Daniel Meeks, center, and Ruth Smith wait to attend Memorial Service at Lakewood Chapel Church in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020. At a news conference Friday, Trump said state governors need to "do the right thing" and open houses of worship. Later, the CDC posted nonbonding guidance for faith institutions considering reopening, including use of masks and limiting the size of gatherings.

    Pastor John Elleson, left, walks in as Daniel Meeks, center, and Ruth Smith wait to attend Memorial Service at Lakewood Chapel Church in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday, May 24, 2020. At a news conference Friday, Trump said state governors need to "do the right thing" and open houses of worship. Later, the CDC posted nonbonding guidance for faith institutions considering reopening, including use of masks and limiting the size of gatherings. Associated Press

  • Miles Suggs from Minneapolis, Minn., and a student at DePaul University in Chicago, wears a protective mask as he relaxes in a hammock along the Lake Michigan shore Sunday, May 24, 2020, in Evanston, Ill.

    Miles Suggs from Minneapolis, Minn., and a student at DePaul University in Chicago, wears a protective mask as he relaxes in a hammock along the Lake Michigan shore Sunday, May 24, 2020, in Evanston, Ill. Associated Press

  • Miles Suggs from Minneapolis, Minn., and a student at DePaul University in Chicago, relaxes in a hammock along the Lake Michigan shore as others pass by Sunday, May 24, 2020, in Evanston, Ill.

    Miles Suggs from Minneapolis, Minn., and a student at DePaul University in Chicago, relaxes in a hammock along the Lake Michigan shore as others pass by Sunday, May 24, 2020, in Evanston, Ill. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 5/25/2020 8:28 AM

CHICAGO -- Illinois churches holding services Sunday despite warnings about health risks during the coronavirus pandemic said they're taking precautions to protect congregants, from scrapping communion to requiring masks.

While President Donald Trump's Friday order declaring houses of worship essential prompted some to expand, others said it was simply time to reopen as more people suffer in the pandemic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

'œIt's like a physician knowing that someone is bleeding and they can't do anything about it,' said Pastor John Elleson of Lakewood Chapel in suburban Arlington Heights.

The church reopened its sanctuary Sunday, something that was planned for weeks. Roughly 20 worshippers, including staff, wore masks and stood spaced out. Doors were kept open and communion wasn't offered, said Elleson, who wore a glove while he prayed for congregants, touching them on the shoulder or side.

Clashes between churches and local stay-at-home orders have popped up nationwide. In Chicago, three churches been holding services for weeks were fined $500. In Illinois, houses of worship are limited to 10 people to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Some churches said they'd try to expand after Trump's declaration.

Pervis Thomas, pastor of New Canaan Land Missionary Baptist Church on Chicago's South Side, urged leaders to lift restrictions and said he was planning for about 50 people. He said there wouldn't be any singing as a precaution.

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'œWe just want her to recognize our institution as being essential,' Thomas told the Chicago Tribune.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older people and the infirm, it can cause severe symptoms and lead to death.

Public health officials announced 2,508 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday and 67 additional deaths. Overall, 110,304 people in the state have tested positive and 4,856.

Also Sunday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker released detailed reopening guidelines for different businesses, including salons, restaurants and offices, which could soon open their doors. The Democrat's gradual reopening plan is tied to meeting public health metrics, with the next phase possible before the end of the month.

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