Sun Valley

Despite 3 Confirmed COVID-19 Cases, Sun Valley Church Holds Indoor Sunday Service Amid Legal Battle

A judge issued an order requiring the church to stop holding such services indoors, but the church has been defying that order, and it could be held in contempt at a court hearing next month.

Telemundo 52

A Sun Valley megachurch was holding an indoor service Sunday morning amid an ongoing legal battle with the county over a health order that bars such services due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Three cases of COVID-19 were confirmed last week at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley.

A judge issued an order requiring the church to stop holding such services, but the church has been defying that order, and it could be held in contempt at a court hearing next month.

An attorney for the church issued a statement Friday condemning the use of the word "outbreak" to describe the three coronavirus cases -- although the county throughout the pandemic has defined an "outbreak" as three or more cases at a single location.

"Three very mild positive tests among more than 7,000 people is hardly news -- 0.0004% is not an 'outbreak,'" attorney Jenna Ellis said in a statement. "... It has never been the church's position that it is only safe to hold services if no one ever tests positive, or for example, if no one ever gets the flu during flu season.

"Our position has been that L.A. County shutting down churches indefinitely amid a virus with a 99.98% survival rate, especially when state-preferred businesses are open and protests are held without restriction, is unconstitutional and harmful to the free exercise of religion," she said.

The county health order allows church services, but requires they be held outdoors.

Up to 3,000 people attend the indoor services at the church, according to the county's court papers. Sunday's service got underway at around 10:30 a.m.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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