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San Diego church adjusts to outdoor, online services after back and forth

Posted at 5:34 PM, Nov 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-15 20:34:39-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — With San Diego County back in the purple tier, religious gatherings have to move back outdoors.

The first Sunday back in California’s most restrictive tier and Rock Church held five outdoor services around the county, but this is not new for them. The megachurch moved to live streaming of services at the beginning of the pandemic, then added in outdoor services about six weeks ago.

In the red tier, religious services could hold indoor services at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever was fewer. Point Loma’s Pastor Travis Gibson said during this time, they had the option to move outdoors, but with 7,000 people attending Point Loma’s services alone, it wasn’t worth it.

“One hundred people is not even the volunteers so this is the best option,” he said, standing outside after an outdoor service.

RELATED: San Diego houses of worship told to move services outside by Saturday

He said they have anywhere from 50,000 to 75,000 people watching their live streamed services every week, with only about 1,000 people coming to this new outside setup, but they’re happy to be able to give different worship options to their members.

“There are so many ways to worship God. Four walls are great. You can control the temperature, you can control the airplanes, you can control the lights, but you don’t need it to worship God,” said Pastor Travis.

He said they do not have plans to try to move back inside anytime soon because they don’t want to switch back and forth, so they’re moving slowly and making sure the online and outside services work.

RELATED: San Diego County health officials warn local churches about holding indoor services

Not every church has been as flexible. This is the second time churches were asked to move outside. The first time churches were banned from indoor services in July, at least three San Diego churches were either sent warning letters or cease and desist letters because they refused to move outdoors.

ABC 10News is waiting to hear if any churches violated the county orders during this second rollback.