Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA, is defying public health orders and holding services with up to 7,000 parishioners. It has also filed a lawsuit challenging California’s limit on in-person, indoor church gatherings.
California only allows religious services to be attended by 100 people or 25% of the building’s capacity, whichever is lower.
The church initially closed its doors in March with the arrival of Covid19. It had planned to formally reopen in May but a federal court ruling upheld the state’s ban on indoor religious services.
It reopened officially last month.
“People started slowly coming back,” Pastor John MacArthur said, “and they just kept coming until there were six or seven thousand.”
MacArthur said he allowed individuals to enter the building so they weren’t “standing outside in a mob,” adding that he has not been campaigning for parishioners to return – they’ve come back entirely of their own volition.
“Nobody’s forcing anything, they’re here because they want to be here,” he said.
The State is still trying to force the church to stop its services. MacArthur and parishioners are remaining steadfast however.
“I’m so happy to welcome you to the Grace Community Church peaceful protest,” MacArthur told the pulpit as they cheered.