Megachurch Holds Service For 7,000 Worshipers, Defies California’s Gathering Order

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Grace Community Church on Roscoe Blvd., in Sunland, CA. on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Source: International Business Times, By By  , August 13, 2020

Megachurch Grace Community Church in Los Angeles violated California’s order on large gatherings by holding service for as many as 7,000 people amid the coronavirus pandemic, CNN reported Thursday.

The pastor of the church, John MacArthur defended the decision to hold services during the pandemic, telling CNN that the church took precautions such as putting up a tent on an overflow area and adding a screen in the middle of a patio. But the church filled up quickly with a crowd that MacArthur said numbered as many as 7,000 people.

Attendees reportedly were not required to wear masks.

“We don’t orchestrate this. This is a church. We don’t ask people to make a reservation to come to church,” he told CNN.

 

When asked further about the decision to open the church’s door, MacArthur said he wasn’t going to have people “standing outside in a mob.”

“We opened the doors because that’s what we are: We’re a church and we’re going to trust those people to make adult decisions about the reality of their physical and spiritual health and how that balance works for each one of them,” he said. “Nobody’s forcing anything. They’re here because they want to be here.”

MacArthur told KABC, Los Angeles, the church is looking into legal action against a city cease-and-desist order that threatens MacArthur with a fine of $1,000 per day and possible arrest.

Despite the penalties, MacArthur told KABC following the order would be disobeying his faith, adding the government has no right to dictate how or where a church holds Sunday worship services.

California has reported more than 591,000 positive coronavirus cases, with COVID-19 deaths topping 10,700, data from Johns Hopkins University show.

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