After Illinois’ crowd ban, multiple Catholic dioceses, megachurches go online

Hundreds of thousands of church-goers in Illinois will be at home Sunday after some of the state’s largest religious institutions closed their doors after the governor banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, along with several other groups, canceled weekend services, opting to stream them online. This is the first weekend since Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a ban on events that gather crowds of more than 1,000. The governor also strongly encouraged organizers of events expected to draw more than 250 people to postpone.

Pritzker addressed the order on Thursday.

“They will not be able to hold those gatherings,” he said. “I realize that’s a hardship. Perhaps they can have multiple services and cut the number down per service but, yes, that’s what we’re telling people.”

The Archdiocese represents nearly 2 million Catholics in Cook and Lake counties. Other large congregations such as the Eastview Christian Church in Bloomington-Normal draw thousands every weekend.

Pritzker said Thursday that state officials will instruct local law enforcement agencies to break up events that disregard the ban.

Below is a list of large churches that have announced they would cancel or move services online:

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of ChicagoThe Roman Catholic Archdiocese of JolietThe Community Christian ChurchThe Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church of ChicagoWillow Creek Community ChurchThe City First Church of RockfordParkview Christian ChurchMoody ChurchEastview Christian Church of Normal

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