Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, announced Friday evening that it would be postponing the annual Shepherd's Conference, an event geared around equipping men in ministry to cling to biblical fidelity in a world of confusion.
In a Twitter thread announcing the decision, the church mentioned threats of litigation from the County of Los Angeles and California.
Grace's minister, Dr. John MacArthur, has faced persistent harassment from the state of California throughout the COVID-19 lockdowns, including an August lawsuit from the County of Los Angeles specifically accusing him of violating government decrees against indoor religious services.
MacArthur has remained steadfast that earthly officials have no power to forbid the gathering of Christians, citing Scripture to proclaim that "no earthly state has a right to restrict, delimit, or forbid the assembling of believers."
Despite the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to partially lift Governor Gavin Newsom's strict limitations on religious services in the state, government officials had signaled they would choose to interpret the Shepherd's Conference not as a "religious service," but a prohibited indoor gathering.
"At this point, all conferences and events are prohibited," Dr. Muntu Davis, Los Angeles County's health officer said on Friday. "At this point, it's not something that is allowed."
Grace Church emphasized that the conference would go on as planned at a later date.