Pastor Refuses To Close Church After 74 Members Infected In COVID Outbreak

The pastor of a church in Oregon refused to halt services despite a coronavirus outbreak that infected him, his wife, and 72 members of his congregation. The outbreak at the Peoples Church in Salem, Oregon, began on April 6 and forced Pastor Scott Erickson to call out sick for the first time in his 48-years as a minister.

He would miss three weekends of services and end up in the hospital with pneumonia. Despite all of that, the church resisted calls to close its doors and continued to host in-person services.

When Erickson returned to the pulpit on Mother's Day, he addressed the church's decision to remain open.

"In the last several days, it is apparent that voices in our community and region want the church of Jesus Christ to be quiet and to be closed," Erickson said during his sermon, according to ABC News. "Not us, not here, not now. That's not what we're doing."

"We'll press on and honor what Jesus said in his word. He said, 'I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.' I believe his word is true," Erickson added.

While churches have been allowed to host in-person services since December when Governor Kate Brown lifted the emergency restrictions, they are still operating under capacity restrictions. In addition, people in attendance are required to wear masks and follow social distancing requirements.

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