The pandemic continues to be a threat to anyone, a reason why gatherings are still discouraged or prohibited. Unfortunately, that includes churches that have not temporarily been unable to hold services.
Over in Santa Clara County, in San Jose, California, houses of worship are limited to just 100 individuals or 25 percent of their normal capacity. This depends on whichever is fewer and with the premise that they follow the standard health protocols like wearing face coverings and social distancing. Singing is also prohibited during worship gatherings.
Calvary Church, located in San, Jose was given an order to stop holding services as requested by the county. Despite the order, the church continued to hold its services on Sunday. The church's pastor, Mike McClure, stated that they did so because this is what God called on him to do.
"The reason you're here today is because you know that the Scripture says not to forsake the gathering together of the saints," Pastor McClure said while referencing Hebrews 10:25. "We're to obey the powers that be - the law of the land - until they tell us to disobey God's Word. ... I have to do what God's called me to do."
Despite the order given to Calvary Church, a counsel member explained that they fully support the right to worship. The requirements to hold religious services are meant to help protect the well-being of the community during this time of crisis caused by the pandemic, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The large gatherings were singled out as the reason as to why the county is suing the church, something that may substantially increase the risk of people getting afflicted by COVID-19. Most know by now the growing number of cases and deaths, meaning there is a possibility that worshippers could end up getting hospitalized or, in worse cases, dead.
Regardless of the intent, McClure pointed out in a recent sermon how other churches from other countries gather illegally, Christian Headlines reported. He bats that it is the right of anyone to worship and that is what he is standing up for.
Further, McClure goes on to cite the rising cases of depression and suicides as a result of the pandemic. He feels that the church is what these affected people need and that is why they have to preach the gospel.
"The church cares about the whole body," he said Nov. 1. "... I don't want to break the law, but ... I'm called to preach the gospel."
Mariah Gondeiro, an attorney representing McClure and Calvary Church, supports the pastor and church's stand on the matter.
"The reality is, the church has not experienced one known COVID-19 case," the attorney said. "Pastor Mike McClure's church has been a refuge for so many hurting people suffering from anxiety, depression, and even thoughts of suicide."
Worship is something that has been allowed but only to a certain number of individuals in attendance. A survey from LifeWay research back in July shows 76 percent of churches did so while also practicing social distancing by closing off seats.