5K sidestep church lockdown, worship at Calif. beach

Sunday, August 2, 2020
 | 
Michael F. Haverluck (OneNewsNow.com)

lifeguard station on beachMore than 5,000 Christians worshipped on a beach near San Diego, California, in the face Gov. Gavin Newsome’s (D-Calif.) July 13 COVID-19 executive order shutting down indoor church services across most of the state – while allowing protests to continue.

Many such “Let Us Worship” events – sponsored by Christian singer and songwriter Sean Feucht’s nonprofit group, Hold the Line – have taken place over the past week on beaches and other public locations from Redding to San Diego.

Can’t keep God’s people apart … or silent

The 5,000-plus gathering at Southern California’s Cardiff State Beach also came in the wake an earlier attack on churches by Newsome.

“In a previous executive order, the governor prohibited congregants from singing at church functions,” The Western Journal recounted.

However, Christians’ freedom to worship – guaranteed by the United States Constitution – was exercised despite the state’s attempt to target and shut down churches.

“JUST NO WORDS!!! Thousands gathered! Hundreds save and baptized! Unity released! Hope restored! Courage instilled!” Feucht exclaimed on Facebook after posting a video from the beach event. “We are declaring A NEW JESUS PEOPLE MOVEMENT HAS BEGUN!!!!!!”

Feucht said there was no gimmick for the thousands showing up at the beach and at the other events statewide … only Jesus Christ’s message of salvation through Him.

“It’s just the most raw, organic, gritty gospel,” Feucht impressed to Fox News. “It’s been very eclectic, very diverse – in terms of people praying and singing. People got healed, saved and delivered. “We feel really called from the Lord to raise up this sound of worship in California.”

And being outside in a healthy environment – with many medical experts stressing how sunlight and minerals in the sand provide ideal conditions for combatting the coronavirus – many attending the San Diego event threw fears to the wayside.

“Many defied a statewide order to wear face coverings, and the gathering also violated the San Diego County mandate on social distancing,” the Western Journal reported. “According to the 36-point county order, any violation would be ‘subject to fine, imprisonment, or both.’ It doesn’t appear any citations have been issued in relation to the event, however. California’s guidelines for religious locations also encourage those organizations to take reservations to limit the number of congregants at one time.”

Those attending prior events in Pasadena, Bakersfield, Fresno and Redding – including Vanessa Kelly and her three children who attended the service in Freson – also did not let fear spread about the virus keep them from the Bible’s call to fellowship and worship God with other believers.Bottom of FormTop of FormBottom of Form

“I believe in Jesus Christ and the freedom to worship – and that’s why we’re here,” Kelly explained to the Fresno Bee. “We love Jesus, and we want to worship, and nothing’s going to stop us from doing that.”

State officials standing up for the gospel

At the Bakersville service, Senate Minority Leader Shannon Grove (R-Calif.) said around 1,000 recently showed up to worship God in the middle of the city at a park.

“God’s Word says with every breath, let us praise the Lord,” Grove reminded, according to the Journal. “It’s so important we invite the Lord into our cities and into our county and into our state and into our nation. It’s so important that the Church rise up. We need to say ‘Jesus loves you.’”

Even the Republican mayor of Bakersfield in Central California, Karen Goh – who opened the service in prayer with Grove – rejoiced in being able to worship with believers, once again.

“What a joy it is to be able to gather together to worship God,” Goh proclaimed, as noted by the Journal. “On the walls of the lobby in city hall, [city founder] Col. Thomas Baker’s inscription says, ‘This is God’s country,’ and that was a declaration made in the 1800s over Bakersfield, California. We have declared that this is God’s country – and a city of righteousness – and we are gathered as God’s people to help our community, to love our neighbors, to worship our God.”

Pastors unite to honor God

The return to worship was also praised by the founding pastor of 412 Church Murrieta – south of Bakersfield in Southern California’s Riverside County east of Los Angeles.

“I love what Sean is doing, and I believe it is going to be a movement reminiscent of Chuck Smith and the Jesus Movement with the hippies,” Thompson wrote to The Western Journal, referring to the late Chuck Smith, who founded Calvary Chapels when he pastored his Costa Mesa church in 1965 before starting the Jesus People Movement in the 1970s – known for its baptism services at Southern California beaches.

Likewise, Thompson’s congregation showed up last month for a baptism service at a beach in San Clemente – close to the same spot Smith met with believers nearly 50 years ago – this time pushed by Newsome’s strict anti-church edict. He – along with numerous other California pastors – has refused to close church doors and held indoor services, resulting in attendance tripling and Sunday services doubling …  from two before the pandemic to four.

“People are coming from all over the place because they want to go in to church,” Thompson stressed. “They want their kids to be in Sunday school. They want their kids to be around other Christian kids and not be walking around in fear. What we’ve found is our church is the one place of normality.”

Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena – led by senior pastor Ché Ahn – is also holding services, and this civil disobedience refuses to abide by Newsome’s orders banning indoor services, singing during church gatherings and holding home Bible studies.

Bringing peace amidst Portland’s unrest

Feucht’s “Let Us Worship” movement is crossing California’s northern border into Portland, Oregon, where rioters have taken over the city for the past two months, calling for President Donald Trump to send in federal guards to protect federal buildings being destroyed as the mayor refuses to protect property and citizens from the violence.

“[We will] change the narrative over this beautiful city,” Feucht insisted to the Journal, referring to the upcoming event on August 8.

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