ROCKLIN (CBS13) — Thousands won’t be sitting in church pews this weekend after Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered churches to close indoor operations in 29 counties on the state monitoring list.
But Destiny Christian Church in Rocklin is making it public that they keeping their doors open. Destiny’s pastor declined to speak with CBS13 on Tuesday.
In a video posted on the church’s Facebook page, pastors Greg and Kathy Farrington said the government data is not factual and he won’t shut down the church. The church is also asking people to reserve seats for this upcoming Sunday service.
This is one of many churches in California saying they aren’t going to toe the line. Robert Tyler’s firm was co-counsel on a lawsuit for a Lodi church to stay open during the first closures. He says other churches and pastors he’s spoken to aren’t closing this time around.
“So many of them are saying ‘We are going to follow the calling that we’ve been led to by God and we are going to fulfill that mission,’” Tyler said. “And if that means violating the governor’s orders, then that’s what we have to do.”
Tyler told CBS13 many pastors are balancing the risk of the virus and the needs of the congregation with defying the most recent closure.
“We have committed to defending them should the government attempt to shut down or arrest the pastor or cite them,” Tyler said.
While some churches say they will defy the state’s closure, others are closing their doors and taking their message outside.
“We’ll have a wide area here where I’m standing. You can probably see behind me the area. Of course, the cars will be gone,” Father Michael Kiernan, Cathedral of Blessed Sacrament, said. “And, we’ll set up a nice altar and people will have lots of space and social distancing.”
The Diocese of Sacramento is encouraging having outdoor mass if churches can pull it off safely and within the state guidelines.
“The playground at our little school,” Father Francisco Hernandez, Our Lady Of Guadalupe, said. “Our plan is to prepare an altar in that area and to have people seated in all of this area that you could see later on.”
Many walking their own paths all praying for the pandemic to be over. CBS13 asked the California Department of Public Health about enforcing these latest closures for churches.
A spokesperson said in a statement, “This is a statewide requirement and flows from the same legal authority as all of the other state orders. Californians have done incredible work following those orders, saving lives in the process. We expect that will continue to be the case.”
It’s didn’t clearly state how it would be enforcing it.
CDPH also told us, “The Governor has ordered, in multiple executive orders, that people heed the guidance and directives of the public health director. Government Code section 8665 provides that any person who violates or who refuses or willfully neglects to obey an Executive Order shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction shall be punishable by a fine.”