BOSTON (WHDH) - More than 250 religious leaders penned a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker Thursday, urging him to classify places of worship as essential when the stay-at-home advisory ends on May 18.

The faith leaders who wrote to the governor explained that they have been following the law by closing their doors and holding online services but they feel they can reopen safely with some modifications.

This comes as a pastor in Worcester continues to violate the governor’s orders by holding in-person services with more than 10 people.

The Worcester Police Department has issued a criminal complaint against pastor Kris Casey, as well as two fines — one for $300 and one for $500, neither of which Casey intends to pay. He also says he has no plans to stop. in-person services.

The pastors who signed onto the letter told 7NEWS they want to work with state officials; not against them.

“While we have been praying and serving, we have also been watching. We have seen how marijuana dispensaries, liquor stores and abortion clinics have all been deemed ‘essential,’ but churches and other places of worship have not. We are grieved by this, but we have been patient, and peaceful,” the letter read.

The Department of Housing and Economic Development said in a statement: “The Reopening Advisory Board continues to meet with a variety of business groups and community coalitions, and will make specific recommendations to the Governor in accordance with public health guidelines.”

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