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Some San Diego churches appear to be holding services despite state's order

Posted at 11:52 AM, Jul 16, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Some places of worship around San Diego County appear to be planning to continue holding services on their property despite the state’s order regarding indoor operations.

On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced pandemic-related restrictions for certain businesses and activities, and places of worship were included on California’s list.

Via a Wednesday evening livestream, Kearny Mesa-based Awaken Church broadcasted their service in which there were people in attendance. On their website, Awaken Church promoted in-person women’s prayer meetings held at each of their campuses.

ABC 10News asked church leaders to clarify the meeting, and an Awaken pastor said they were holding a prayer protest.

At the church’s Balboa Avenue campus, a disclaimer is posted on doors that reads, in part: “By entering this building where COVID-19 virus may possibly exist, despite efforts and attempts at utilizing and employing CDC Public Health Guidelines, you take full responsibility for the decision to attend our services and activities.”

A viewer brought a Facebook post by Lighthouse Baptist Church to ABC 10News’ attention. In the post, the Lemon Grove church says, in part: “We are aware of the current mandates of our Governor and County. But, by God’s grace will continue with their current schedule of live worship services on the property.”

It’s unclear whether those services will be inside or outside.

ABC 10News reached out to both churches for further comment, but neither have returned calls as of late Thursday morning.

A woman who asked not to be identified told ABC 10News that her church also invited her back. She said she believes the places of worship that stay open are doing more harm than good.

“They want things to be back to normal, everyone does. But they aren’t being realistic about it. I think they need to wait this out and be patient and slow the spread and it will be safer for parishioners, and the community and U.S. at large,” the woman said.

As far as the enforcement of the state’s order, if the place of worship falls under San Diego County jurisdiction, it will be up to the sheriff’s department.

If it’s within the city, it will be up to the police agency in that city to enforce.