Baptist Church Implores California Governor Gavin Newsom to let the congregation gather for Easter Sunday, according to The Western Journal.
Jack Trieber, the senior pastor of North Valley Baptist Church in Santa Clara, was forced to shut down due to COVID mandates after being deemed nonessential.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that California’s government cannot bar churches from holding indoor gatherings.
However, the court still to ban singing and limit attendance to 25 percent of the building’s capacity.
North Valley Baptist was fined more than $100,000 for attempting to hold in-person gatherings despite strict lockdowns.
The church rebelliously held services outside.
“Governor Newsom, I implore you to open up our churches Easter Sunday, April the 4,” Trieber said. “This is Sunday, early in the morning and we’re freezing out here. We’re cold. We’ve been obeying for 366 days, one year and one day.”
“We’ve shut our church down. We’re meeting in the parking lot. We’re meeting in open-air meetings and we have tents everywhere. People in their cars, people are down the street listening on the radio. We need our church open.”
The pastor said that congregants were “literally freezing” throughout the winter.
Trieber claims that atendees were forced to sit through hail and rain in order to attend worship services.
“And we are very hot in the summer,” Trieber added. “Yet we have a 3,000-seat auditorium that sits empty.”
“Now, we gave you last Easter. I preached to an empty auditorium by myself in there to 3,000 people, our media people, that’s it.”
“In addition to Easter, we gave you Mother’s Day and Father’s Day,” he said. “We gave you July 4th. We gave you Labor Day. We gave you all the summer. We gave you all the spring, we gave you all of the fall.”
“Enough is enough, sir!” Trieber said.
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The church was fined $5,000 for holding a socially distanced worship service in the morning and $5,000 for the evening service.
A notice was also posted on the door, accusing the church of “failing to prevent those attending, performing and speaking at North Valley Baptist’s services from singing.”
The letter revealed that county officials had observed the “unlawful activity” while secretly attending one of the services. The county said that North Valley Baptist must “immediately cease” their activities and that “failure to do so will result in enforcement action by the county.”
The church was eventually forced to hold services in the parking lot after racking up around $112,000 in fines. According to KABC, there are reportedly no plans for the fines to be forgiven.