A pastor in California has been hospitalized with pneumonia as a result of coronavirus, after holding a Mother’s Day Church service with singing despite officials specifically advising him not to due to the spread of respiratory droplets.
Redwood Valley Assembly of God Church pastor Jack McMilin is one of three cases in Lake and Mendocino counties, which are working together on contact tracing related to the event.
He was not identified as a victim by Lake County Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace, who said in a Monday morning Board of Supervisors meeting that two people were isolating and a third was hospitalized and in stable condition.
But Mendocino County Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan said Monday the person was an elderly male living in Ukiah.
Pastor Jack McMilin has tested positive for coronavirus and was hospitalized on Saturday
He held a Mother’s Day service at Redwood Valley Assembly of God church on May 10 with singing despite specific orders not to from officials due to the increased chances of spreading respiratory droplets
The day after he hosted the event he shared a post that read: ‘Why can we go to Walmart but not to church?’
The pastor’s grandson, Jason Bright, left a video message in a Facebook group where churchgoers showed oppositions to shutdowns and his wife Sharon also posted on Facebook.
‘I was going post something in place of pastor sermon today but I’ve been on phone with so many people and health department that I didn’t get it done,’ Sharon told members. ‘Just remember God is a big and mighty God and he’s got us covered, remember Pastor Jack in the hospital with pneumonia from the Covid 19 virus. Thank you for all the prayers!’
The day after Mother’s Day, Jack has posted an image of a woman holding a sign stating: ‘Why can we got to Walmart but not church?’
He commented: ‘We need to start asking this more often and with greater volume!’ .
Mendocino County Public Health was offering free testing in Redwood Valley at Eagle Peak Middle School Tuesday.
Lake County residents can make appointments using Project Baseline’s COVID-19 Testing Program online screening tool or contact Lake County Public Health.
His wife Sharon asked churchgoers to keep him in their prayers after he fell ill following the event. Health officials said he is in stable condition
Two counties have been affected by the Mother’s Day service and are contact tracing while offering free testing
It came after more than 180 people who attended a Mother’s Day church service at another church in California, despite coronavirus lockdown rules against public gatherings, were told to quarantined after one of them tested positive for the virus.
One day after attending the church service last Sunday at the Palermo Bible Family Church, in Palermo north of Sacramento, at least one of the worshipers tested positive for coronavirus.
The pastor of the church Mike Jacobsen informed his followers in a Facebook posting, and insisted he did not mean to put his flock in harm’s way.
‘I made a decision to have church on Mother’s Day with our congregation celebrating moms. One of our attendees who had no symptoms that day woke up the next morning needing medical attention on Monday the 11th, was given the test for Covid-19 and found to be positive on Wednesday the 13th.
‘We have been working with Butte County Public Health and dismissed church services until further notice. I would never with knowledge put anyone in harms way. We love our church and feel very blessed to Pastor a great group of believers.
‘For 7 weeks we have been kept out of our church and away from our church family. I am fully aware that some people may not understand that for our church it is essential to be together in fellowship. Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.’
Pastor of the Palermo Bible Family Church Mike Jacobsen, pictured, admitted to hosting a Mother’s Day church service stating he ‘would never with knowledge put anyone in harms way’
The pastor posted a statement on Facebook and gave details about the person who had COVID-10
At least 180 people attended the church service on Mother’s Day last Sunday (file photo)
All of those who attended the service are being contacted in order to be tested for COVID-19.-
Butte County was given the all clear this week to reopen in Phase 1 and 2 of the state’s plan, however it does not allow for gatherings including church services.
Many people blasted the pastor for holding the service instead of stressing the need to shelter in place.
Pastor Mike Jacobsen defended the opening of his church: ‘For 7 weeks we have been kept out of our church and away from our church family. I am fully aware that some people may not understand that for our church it is essential to be together in fellowship.’
‘His decision to open was a reckless one, given the times. And the congregation wasn’t forced to arrive for service, They made a choice to be there. Personal choices in life can have consequences in many forms,’ wrote Greg Pasmore.
‘I will say that if you are preaching from the Bible about being obedient but then lead, the very people you teach, to disobey a direct order. It’s sad to me. Lead by example,’ added Stephanie Bever.
‘At this time, organizations that hold in-person services or gatherings are putting the health and safety of their congregations, the general public and our local ability to open up at great risk,’ Danette York, Butte county public health director, said in a statement.
‘We all need to do our part to follow the orders and mitigation efforts so that our Reopen Butte County plan can continue to move forward. Moving too quickly through the reopening process can cause a major setback and could require us to revert back to more restrictive measures. We implore everyone to follow the state order and our reopening plan to help combat the potential spread of COVID-19.’
Phase 2 allows only certain businesses to reopen with modifications including dine-in restaurants, outdoor museums and shopping centers.
Earlier in May, a federal judge agreed that California Governor Gavin Newsom’s ban on church services during the pandemic did not violate the constitutional rights to free assembly and religion.
‘During public health crises, new considerations come to bear, and government officials must ask whether even fundamental rights must give way to a deeper need to control the spread of infectious disease and protect the lives of society’s most vulnerable,’ Judge John Mendez wrote in his ruling, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Palermo Bible Family Church is located in Palermo, California near Sacramento