Grace Community Church may soon be receiving a $400,000 payment of legal fees from Los Angeles County following a legal battle over the state's COVID-19 restrictions.
John MacArthur, the longtime pastor of Grace Community Church, made headlines last year as the church continued to hold indoor services despite the state's ban on such gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As reported by ABC7, a county staff report notes that the settlement calls the state to pay an additional $400,000 in resolving the litigation with Grace Community Church.
The report, which was first obtained by KNX News radio, points out that the county has already spent over $950,000 in attorneys fees and other costs corresponding to the legal battle with the church.
According to Yahoo News, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the settlement agreement in which the county Department of Public Health's budget will pay $400,000 for legal fees to the church.
MacArthur, who has led the church since 1969, celebrated the current matter as a "monumental victory for Grace Community Church."
"We know that there is no circumstance that can cause the church to close," he wrote in a letter to supporters of the John MacArthur Charitable Trust, which funds several Grace Ministries.
"The church is not only a building but is the bride of Christ and exists to proclaim the truth," he added.
Throughout the pandemic, Grace Community Church engaged in a legal battle with the state and county, contending that those restrictions violated religious freedom. Last September, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge issued the church a preliminary injunction on behalf of the county. The church, however, ignored the injunction and continued holding indoor services. Subsequently, county attorneys sought a contempt ruling against the church.
Attorneys representing Grace Community Church would go on to file a motion to have the injunction lifted and to dismiss the contempt request, citing two recent U.S. Court decisions. One case involved a group of Jewish synagogues and a Catholic diocese from New York successfully challenging the state's restrictions on churches.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Vladimir Cetinski
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.