When a stay-at-home order closed down all churches in New York, Pastor Michael Spencer said members of his Tabernacle Family Church attended services in a parking lot until police started handing out tickets and the county executive banned the events.
"It was excellent. We found that to honor our president, governor and local officials, we paused and moved everything to the parking lot. The people responded tremendously, and then we had a SNAFU," Spencer said Friday during an appearance on "Greg Kelly Reports."
"Three days before Easter, our local county executive made a decision through the interpretation of what he felt the governor had spoken that no longer were we going to be allowed to have, we call it, drive-in church."
Spencer continued: "We had people turning us in, all over the place, calling the board of health, and so on and so forth."
That's when Spencer called First Liberty Institute, a conservative legal nonprofit, which sent a letter asking Chemung County Executive Christopher Moss to rescind the policy on behalf of not only Tabernacle but two other churches in the community.
"In Chemung County, New York, you can go park in the Walmart as many cars as you want, and stay there all day long if you want to but you couldn't do that at the church," Jeremy Dys, first counsel for First Liberty Institute. "You can't say you can't meet on a church ground when people come in their cars, they leave their doors shut, they put the windows up and they listen to the sermon on the radio or on their iPad, or something like that, on their vehicle."
After sending the letter, Moss relented on the order and allowed for the parking lot sermons to continue.
"We are still posturing ourselves in the parking lot and celebrating the best we can. We are using the live stream flows as much as possible to be able to love people," "We are genuinely concerned. We're listening to the hearts of people and the hearts of people are emotionally, and mentally, and spiritually, they're struggling. They need to be around people."
Spencer continued: "God did not create us to be isolated. He created us to be grouping. And people being in the house of God, people being, at least, in the parking lot, is at least the opportunity for them to associate, see some eyeballs, love some people and know that they're not alone."
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