Knox County Backs off Communion, Bible Ban After Lee’s Church Guidance Overrules Local Decisions


The Knox County government backed off a ban of communion, baptism and Bibles at church services after Gov. Bill Lee said his guidance on houses of worship overruled local decisions.

The Knox County government is one of six counties that can largely set its own rules for reopening.

The county, in saying churches could reopen as of Friday, had determined that activities it ruled were not “core worship” were forbidden for any churches that decided to reopen this weekend, Reformation Charlotte reported. Those non-essential things included groups, classes, youth services, communion, baptism and the Bible. The county recommended against singing as non-essential.

The physical taking of communion/sacrament should not be performed due to the serial breaking of physical distancing across a congregation. Consider guiding parishioners in how to connect with the spiritual aspects of these practices during this phase.

WBIR reported Wednesday that the county’s requirements for churches were overridden by Lee’s Executive Order 30. That order, issued Wednesday, said local governments could not issue rules about places of worship because he was on the verge of issuing statewide church guidelines.

Lee said that while churches are not banned, he still encourages them to meet online for now. His full church guidelines are here.

Even though Knox County missed its chance to regulate churches, their guidance takes on plenty of other organizations and businesses, and could be doing so for some time.

According to their 29-page amended reopening guidance, available here, Knox County is in the “reopening” for the long haul — a minimum of three months, or at least 28 days for each of three phases.

A minimum of 28 days will be spent in each phase regardless of whether the benchmarks are met at an earlier timepoint. The phased reopening is not a return to pre-pandemic normal, and the phased plan presents a pathway for reopening that relies on the Five Core Actions we must all consistently take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. They include physical distancing, wearing cloth face coverings, handwashing, cleaning surfaces, and staying home if you are sick or instructed to isolate/quarantine. We will only be able to safely maintain our reopening efforts if all of us commit to maintaining these Five Core Actions.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.







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3 Thoughts to “Knox County Backs off Communion, Bible Ban After Lee’s Church Guidance Overrules Local Decisions”

  1. […] (Natural News) Christians who live in Knoxville, Tenn., are now “allowed” to go back to church as of May 1, but the city and county don’t want them to sing, take communion or use Bibles. […]

  2. William Delzell

    Are you sure this is a wise move to lift the ban on crowded church services or the equivalents such as baptisms, communions, etc.? My gut tells me that it is best to have online church functions at least for a few more days to make sure that no new contaminations occur as a result of resumed church functions. The clergy has a responsibility to insure the welfare of its members and other attendees. I don’t think that God wants people to needlessly risk their own health and lives, especially if they have families to support.

    1. Noxville

      Tennessee Constitution
      Article I, Declaration of Rights
      Section 3. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience; that no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any minister against his consent; that no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience; and that no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.
      If one were to wait “to make sure no new contaminations occur as a result of resumed church functions”, the churches – along with every business, school, park, governmental office at any level, etc. – would never open again. “The Virus” is out there and will remain in the wild, and it is humanly impossible to ensure no one will ever catch a disease at any given facility. You’re apparently assuming that churches will be packed wall to wall this Sunday. A few churches might want to do that, but the vast majority of churches are already following guidelines such as closing their offices and schools and offering online services and classes to help keep their members safe. A number of churches in Knox County frequently communicate and discuss with each other best practices to keep their members and visitors safe while opening their doors in stages. [Our church adminstrator was on a conference call with 24 other Knox County churches yesterday to discuss this very topic.] Those practices will include limiting numbers of people within their facilities, social distancing, wearing masks, curtailing functions such as child care, dinners, etc.