Many pastors have spoken out after California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday issued a new executive order closing indoor operations statewide for several facilities, including restaurants, wineries, bars, movie theaters and family entertainment venues.
Issued Wednesday, July 1, the policies from the state’s department of public health require churches and other houses of worship to “discontinue singing and chanting activities.
Pastor Greg Fairrington of Destiny Christian Church in Rocklin, California, has declared that his church will not comply with a ban on indoor church services that is impacting dozens of counties across the state, Christian Post Reports.
Greg is the latest church official choosing not to comply with the bans on indoor church services in over 30 counties, according to a Facebook video Tuesday.
“I believe my mandate as a pastor is to obey the Word of God. And part of what we do is worship together as a church,” Fairrington said. “We are not going to allow our government to use data that is not supported factually to shut the church down.”
The Destiny Church pastor called on his congregation, as well as other residents in the area, to band together as they struggle with COVID-19.
“We need more support right now than ever before,” Fairrington said. “Do not let the fear the media is driving and the fear of what’s out there affect us as a church; let’s pull together.”
Some church leaders feel less strongly on the issue and have chosen to adapt to the new orders instead.
Pastor John Cox of Riverpark Bible Church in Fresno told The Christian Post that Romans 13:1 tells Christians to submit to government.
“It put us in a tricky spot. We want to be who God ordered us to be. But also, [we] want to be gracious and submit to leadership,” Cox said. “We don’t want to worship in defiance or to stand against the government, but as the people of God.”
Cox said that Riverpark services will be online and not in-person for the time being. The primary issue, according to Cox, is the vagueness of the order. He said knowing what is permitted and what is not can be difficult to distinguish.