On March 15, when COVID-19 concerns were well established in Illinois, The Life Church in Glenview, just north of Chicago, held a large event anyway. 80 people were present for an out-of-town speaker.
Now 43 of those worshipers are sick, including the pastor. And 10 of them have tested positive for the coronavirus — including the speaker, who is currently hospitalized.
Most of the people at the church haven’t been tested at all.
[Pastor Anthony] LoCascio, who has been pastor at the Life Church for 11 years, said he thought about whether to hold the service. But at the time, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases was low and a stay-at-home order had not yet been imposed. Plus, he had an out-of-town speaker coming.
“We had a guest speaker. We were promoting it,” he said. “We made the announcement, ‘If you’re sick, stay home.’ We didn’t know. No one knew.”
Lots of people knew. Lots of people were dumb enough to ignore the advice of experts, though.
It was irresponsible of LoCascio to continue holding services when a virus was clearly threatening our way of life, as if the presence of God was somehow going to make everything all better.
It’s okay to skip church during a pandemic.
It’s okay to skip church, period.
You don’t have to go just because a pastor guilt-trips you into it. In this case, LoCascio put dozens of his own church members — maybe more — in harm’s way. God isn’t going to help.
(Thanks to Dan for the link)