In a late-night ruling on Saturday, the California Court of Appeal set aside a lower court order that would have allowed indoor church services to take place at John MacArthur's Grace Community Church in Sun Valley.
"The reason immediate relief was required is because tomorrow morning Grace Community Church and its pastor, John MacArthur, intends to go forward with such religious services," the court wrote.
The California Court of Appeal today set aside a lower court order that would have allowed indoor services to take place at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley.
The Court of Appeal's decision temporarily upholds the County's Health Officer Orders prohibiting indoor worship services in order to protect congregants and the community as a whole from transmission of the highly contagious and potentially fatal COVID-19 virus.
A full hearing on the matter is scheduled for September 4.
Los Angeles County issued the following statement:
Los Angeles County is pleased that the California Court of Appeal recognizes the vital importance of our Health Officer Orders in protecting the lives and health of our residents as we work to slow the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.
We will continue to work closely with all religious institutions, including Grace Community Church, to make sure their congregants are protected and provided with accurate information about worshiping safely during this phase of the pandemic.
Outdoor religious observances are permitted; participants must wear cloth face coverings and maintain six feet of distance from each other unless they live in the same household.
The County is grateful to all residents and institutions for coming together to take the actions that will continue to move us forward, as a community, through our recovery.
? MacArthur and the elders at Grace Community Church announced on July 24 that they would no longer obey the state's order banning all indoor church services. MacArthur expounded further on their reasoning in his first defiant sermon, titled, "We Must Obey God Rather Than Men," in which he cited, among other reasons, the statistical deadliness of COVID-19, the fact that churches in California have been shut down while abortion clinics and liquor stores have been deemed "essential" and allowed to remain open, and the biblical grants and limitations to government authority over Christians.
GCC and MacArthur have been threatened with fines and even imprisonment if they continue to hold services.
Last Sunday MacArthur referred to GCC's church services as "peaceful protests":
Grace Community Church's Sunday service can be viewed live here at 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time.