Los Angeles public health officials have cleared Grace Community Church from restrictions after three cases of coronavirus were linked to the megachurch.
“We are glad to announce that we received a notice from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health … saying that we have been cleared of COVID-19 outbreak,” the church says on its website.
According to The Christian Post, LA County requires places of worship to report if there are at least three COVID-19 cases within a timeframe of two weeks.
The Sun Valley, California church reopened in the summer despite restrictions on houses of worship. Pastor John MacArthur said it was the church’s “biblical duty” to stay open and follow the “Lord’s clear commands.”
“After a thorough investigation, Public Health officials have decided to rescind all outbreak-related requirements and restrictions on Grace Community Church,” the church said in a statement.
“Praise the Lord for His blessings and perfect provision. Thank you, Pastor John, for your example as you have walked this road,” a church member, Matt Mckinney, wrote on Grace Community’s Facebook page. “Your humble and unwavering strength, anchored in your trust of the Lord’s sovereignty to work this out to the counsel of His own will, for His own purposes and glory, are such an encouragement. Blessings my brother.”
Attorney for the church, Jenna Ellis, said the restrictions unfairly close churches and places of worship while allowing other businesses to stay open.
"It has never been the church’s position that it is only safe to hold services if no one ever tests positive, or for example, if no one ever gets the flu during flu season. Our position has been that LA County shutting down churches indefinitely amid a virus with a 99.98% survival rate, especially when state-preferred businesses are open and protests are held without restriction, is unconstitutional and harmful to the free exercise of religion," she said.
Indoor worship is not allowed in Los Angeles County. Churches can only meet outdoors with restrictions and limitations.
While Grace Community Church may have been cleared of having an outbreak, church leaders are set to go to court on January 15 for contempt after defying coronavirus restrictions and holding indoor, in-person church services.
Photo courtesy: Grace Community Church Facebook
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.