Who Would Jesus Infect? A large Pentecostal church in rural northeast Oregon has been linked to the state’s largest COVID-19 outbreak.
Associated Press reports:
A church in rural northeastern Oregon is now the epicenter of the state’s largest coronavirus outbreak, as 236 people tested positive for the disease, authorities said Tuesday.
The largest outbreak, which was first made public Monday, is associated with Lighthouse Pentecostal Church in Union County.
Fox News reports:
A church in northeast Oregon has been linked to the state’s largest single coronavirus outbreak to date, authorities confirmed, pushing daily counts to reach new records.
The outbreak at Lighthouse United Pentecostal Church in Union County’s Island City was linked to at least 236 COVID-19 cases, the deputy state epidemiologist, Tom Jeanne, confirmed.
The Observer reports the church ignored executive orders issued by Oregon Governor Kate Brown limiting public gatherings, noting:
The church held services in April and May, despite Gov. Kate Brown’s executive orders limiting gatherings, and recently held a wedding and a graduation ceremony with more than 100 people at each event.
The Observer continues:
But the church’s videos of services in April and the first half of May show dozens of parishioners gathered in the church parking lot around a central stage, ignoring the restriction on crowd sizes.
The video from the April 26 services shows church leaders and members engaged in the practice of the laying on of hands during prayer. Participants were close enough to rub shoulders and no one was wearing face coverings. The video of the May 6 services shows churchgoers side by side. Again, no one in the videos appear to be wearing face masks. During Mother’s Day, May 10, a pastor invited all the mothers in the audience to come forth for recognition. Numerous women lined up next to one another, only 2 or 3 feet apart at the most, and once more, no one wore a mask.
The Oregonian reports:
A video of a recent worship service, published on the church’s Facebook page on May 24 but since deleted, showed worshippers by the hundreds standing as closely together as was normal in pre-pandemic times as they sang, clapped and moved to the music. At that time, Union County was in Phase 1 of reopening, under which faith communities were not allowed to convene in large groups.
While the church has removed the video from their Facebook page, a copy of the video has been preserved via Twitter:
Here’s the now-deleted video of the service at Lighthouse United Pentecostal Church. Uploaded May 24, deleted June 15. Video courtesy of Lighthouse Church LaGrande’s Facebook page. pic.twitter.com/2J6eGJqjEJ
— Celina Tebor (@CelinaTebor) June 16, 2020
Bottom line: Tragic consequences follow after a rural Pentecostal church in Oregon ignored the governor’s orders limiting public gatherings, leading to the state’s largest COVID-19 outbreak.