In a notification chain sent out to Church Members, the leadership at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, updated congregants on the LA Times claim that a Coronavirus “Outbreak” has occurred at the Church:
You may have seen a report on the news claiming that there is a COVID-19 Outbreak at our church. There is no Outbreak at Grace Church. We have three part-time employees who tested positive and are now recovering at home, having never been hospitalized. As we enter the flu season, we encourage you to stay at home if you are not feeling well or have COVID-19-like symptoms. We are going to meet for worship this Sunday to celebrate the Lord’s table together.
Grace Chuch made the announcement in order to comply with Los Angeles County’s health protocols, which require all churches and houses of worship to report to the Department of Public Health when three cases of COVID-19 are reported or identified within a period of 14 days.
While it is true that three part-time staff members tested positive, there are other cases of members getting COVID-19 at Grace Church. Tim Hurd at the Biblethumpingwingnut reports that congregation members have contacted him informing him that either they or people they know who attend have it, though to which degree the leadership is aware remains to be seen.
The point remains, however, that a few cases out of more than 7000 people gathered together is hardly news. The overwhelming vast majority of these cases will be resolved in the same way the flu is – with people staying home, feeling sick for a few days, and then recovering. The fact that the media is trying to frame this as an irresponsible superspreader event so that they may point and say, “See? See?!” is beyond the pale.
Furthermore, it has never been the church’s position that it is only safe to hold services if no one ever tests positive. Pastor John MacArthur has acknowledged that congregation members and staff may get sick and even perish, but that the Lord is sovereign and they will not discontinue services for that reason.
In light of this, Grace Church is still going ahead with hosting their annual Fall Fair on Halloween, where the church is hosting a fun afternoon for children. Members are encouraged to invite their friends and neighbors to the event which will take place at the church, and there will be sno-cones, carnival games, bouncy castles, face-painting (a prospect that would be anathema anywhere else) and popcorn for everyone to enjoy.
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