FONTANA, Calif. - “We are not serving up Mc Jesus sermons, this is the real thing” said Pastor Patrick Scales to his mask-wearing, bible clutching parishioners.
Indeed, Shield of Faith Family Church has opened up its doors for those desiring to physically sit at the services, even if they are broadcast online.
They have been doing so, even before President Trump's Friday declaration that churches should open their doors and despite California Governor Newsom’s ban on in-person religious services - which was just upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
For them it is a matter of faith, but also of constitutional rights and numbers. Parishioner Wendy Gish, who is a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits against the Governor’s ban, asks why the emphasis remains on cases and deaths, instead of how many people are surviving COVID-19.
When asked if they fear the fate of other churches around the country, where the virus spread among members after in-person services, they answer “How do you know those people didn’t get infected at the market or box store?"
Saying they are as essential as liquor stores, hundreds of California churches announced they will break the ban, and hold in-person services next weekend, which commemorates Pentecost.
The Governor promised some kind of announcement Monday, possibly relaxing the guidelines that did not include churches in the second phase of the state’s road to reopening.