By George Miller and Debra Tash
Calvary Chapel Godspeak Thousand Oaks (GCCTO) Pastor Rob McCoy resigned his position on the Thousand Oaks Council last night. He had a conflict with the City over its order to ban nearly all public gatherings, which resulted in his resignation.
“Is the church going to sit back and say, ‘Well we’ll be relegated to non-essential?’” McCoy said. “Though we feed people, and that is essential physical food. …. Truth of the matter is we have the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment declares that Congress shall make no law restricting or prohibiting the free exercise of religion.” – Pastor Rob McCoy
Although the Newbury Park church has been holding online services, McCoy decided that Palm Sunday communion should be done live and set up sessions, taking pains to ensure that it was safe. It incorporated “social distancing” policies, sanitizing, masks, gloves, six feet of separation, packaged supplies and only ten people at a time allowed in briefly, in rotation, in the cavernous 400 seat church.
When the announcement (see below) got out, there was both immediate support and opposition. Vociferous critics said it was unsafe and would result in a rash of new infections. Supporters said it was safer than going to the store and that faith is in fact “essential.”
After reading about his procedures, it sounds safer than going to Costco or other stores. Congregant Amy Chen likened it to a “restaurant takeout.”
The crux of the matter is that unlike several other states’ policies, church services are not included in the exceptions list, because they are not considered “essential” here. The session is in compliance with all of the social distancing/sanitizing points otherwise.
People are wondering why pot shops, liquor stores and abortion mills are open, but not churches, even when they follow rigorous sanitizing and social distancing procedures. This made it a First Amendment issue for Pastor McCoy. In his sermon Sunday morning on April 5th, McCoy emphasized that categorizing the church as nonessential makes Christ nonessential. And has much as he cherished his position on the city council, he cherishes God above all.
This has quickly attracted nationwide attention, for good reason.
Read communion announcement
Please read his website and watch the whole video. His church is open for 2 hours for people who want to go take communion. They stand in line 6 ft apart outside and wait to go in separately into the completely sanitized church, they take their communion, then they leave. They are also passing out food. They are abiding by all CDC regulations. It’s safer than going to the markets where everyone is touching your items. It’s like going to a restaurant for take out.*– Amy Chen
Debra Tash is Editor-in-Chief of Citizensjournal.us, past president for Citizens Alliance for Property Rights, business executive and award-winning author, residing in Somis.
George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard.