Outbreak at Grace Community Church, part 1
I have absolutely no clever intro, no food takes, and no words right now. Falling firmly under the category of “Now It Can Be Told”, a Los Angeles Times article recently came out regarding the outbreak at Grace Community Church. Just to reiterate, whether you are referring to the CDC definition or the official one, an outbreak does not necessarily focus on the numbers, but on the suddenness of the event.
From the Cambridge English Dictionary: an outbreak is,
n. a time when something suddenly begins, especially a disease or something else dangerous or unpleasant
Coronavirus outbreak strikes L.A. megachurch that defied public health orders
An evangelical megachurch in Los Angeles that has defied L.A. County public health orders and held indoor worship…
As I’m sure you have read the story, we were wondering if the positive cases were the same as the three COVID cases at The Master’s University. The story having been tucked so far away on the Signal’s (the local newspaper of Santa Clarita) website that you’d have to be forwarded the article’s URL. But, alas, we received confirmation by today’s Grace Connection newsletter:
October 23, 2020 | Connection
Join us on campus for worship this Sunday, October 25. You may have seen a report on the news claiming that there is a…
The pertinent part being:
You may have seen a report on the news claiming that there is a COVID-19 outbreak at our church. There is no outbreak at Grace Church. We have three, part-time employees who tested positive and are now recovering at home, having never been hospitalized. As we enter the flu season, we encourage you to stay home if you are not feeling well or have COVID-19-like symptoms. We are going to meet for worship this Sunday to celebrate the Lord’s Table together.
You’re all caught up, but keep the aforementioned firmly in mind.
PS-Feel free to ignore the official Press Release from the legal uppity-ups. There is no substance in it. You can glean nothing from it but comes up short at rebutting the Los Angles Times article that was published yesterday.
Now, It Can Be Told…March, Mahoney and Marxism
Back in March, at the start of the pandemic and the lockdowns in California, Grace Community Church did not close their doors or their campus, even they claim they did publicly. Many members told me that they were scared and that they were not sure, for the safety of their family, if they felt like returning to Grace at all. Many of the employees also shared their trepidation and wondered what the Church would do in response. Several Grace employees sent me this email c. March 18, 2020, from Michael Mahoney:
As circumstances surrounding the COVID 19 outbreak continue to develop, we want to make sure we continue to communicate with you as to how this may be affecting us as a staff.
Leadership is in a unique position to ensure shepherding and ministry continues in light of what is being requested by our local, state and federal officials. While the physical aspects of ministry may be changing in this season, your role in supporting ministry as a staff member at GCC is more important than ever. We are encouraged to know that many of you are personally ministering to your neighbors, friends and loved ones, meeting in homes for services, and sharing the hope of the gospel with a fearful world.
Practically speaking, GCC continues to remain open with office hours from 8am-5pm.
We recognize circumstances surrounding COVID 19 may be affecting you and your families and we want to be flexible in order to support you. At this time, we want to offer the option for you to work from home if you have the ability and your supervisor approves. For those whose jobs can only be done on campus, the campus is currently open and we continue to ask you to observe the personal care and hygiene etiquette outlined below. If your job requires you to work in close proximity with others, your supervisor will evaluate your work set up to accommodate recommended guidelines for social distancing.
As ministry activities and needs change, some departments may see a reduction in hours and cancellations of shifts. Rest assured we are considering all options to prevent this and your supervisor will be communicating more information as to how this may impact your department specifically.
We are grateful for your prayers as we continue to pay attention to daily developments related to COVID 19. We are walking through the Lord’s plan with you, trusting Him, and couldn’t imagine a better staff to have at GCC during this time. If you have any questions, please talk with your supervisor, Administration or HR, we want to make sure you have the information you need.
So, as employees returned, in violation of the current Health Order, there were no COVID protocols in place and it was back to business. The few who wore masks were bullied and intimidated. There was one incident involving the Pastor of Administration, Michael Mahoney, described to me in an email:
“Michael was not well-loved among the staff. In fact, no one really knew him on a personal level. He was very polished. Very professional. Overly plastic. Very able to move in and out of situations. He was a party-line guy. A hype man for the MacArthur machine. Whatever John said publicly, Michael would take to the extreme with the church and staff. He became almost militant regarding the official Covid stance, cutting down anyone who wore a mask and on at least one occasion ripping a mask from the face of an employee. Staffers were told that if they wore a mask they were “supporting the Marxists” or “didn’t have enough faith.” All couched in thick, acerbic humor. But this was nothing new. Michael’s style of leadership was to make you feel like an idiot if you didn’t measure up or if you thought differently from the official viewpoints. It was a toxic environment and employees filed formal complaints as a result”.
This was one of the many emails I received over the last few months. I share the most pertinent details now as I think it’s Shepherd’s Conference all over again. I only learned today from Julie Roy’s article that another pastor, Ray Kulper, died from the coronavirus after having attended the Shepherd’s Conference. She stated that she had contacted Grace Community Church, but they did not respond.
So, flashback to today, let stop, collaborate…and listen.
- There is no pandemic.
- Church is essential (who is really arguing against that?)
- And the 1/100th of 1% stat is not accurate, to say the least.
- There are three part-time employees of Grace Community church who have tested positive and told to go home. Quick question from the peanut gallery?
Have…any of the employees been told that their co-workers had been quarantined, and later tested positive?
Right. So, you had Grace members and members of staff who had been sent home, but were they asked to quarantine? In other words, clearly, they had symptoms and were tested, but did they isolate at all?
So, these positive cases went back to work waiting for their results?
Had the Los Angles Times article not have been published, were you ever going to tell your congregation and the affected employees that they had been exposed to the virus?