A Massachusetts pastor holds another church service on Sunday, violating city and state orders for the fourth time.
More than 10 people attended the Mother’s Day service at Adams Square Baptist Church. Even more people gathered outside the Worcester church holding signs and flags to support Father Kris Casey.
Casey held church services privately, Sunday and Wednesday. The city told him to stop or he would be fined. Last Monday he got a $ 300 ticket, and the city said a $ 500 ticket would come.
Casey said he baptized at the church on Sunday, which is part of the reason why he continues to hold meetings at the church instead of virtual services.
“I can’t baptize someone at the Zoom meeting,” he said. “I turned off my laptop like that, everything went blank. I really can’t do it.”
Father Casey said he spent thousands of dollars to clean the church professionally several times each week to prevent the spread of the virus and the congregation was following strict rules, including regulating their temperature.
“As soon as people enter, they are personally escorted to each seat,” he said. “They are told if you take off your mask, if you take off gloves, if you get up and move, you will be escorted outside.”
In a Friday letter, Father Casey asked Governor Charlie Baker to give them the right to gather and worship.
The letter read in part, “I know that your position comes with many heavy burdens and I want you to know that I appreciate everything you do for the Commonwealth … Regardless of your decision, I want you to understand that my position as pastor of the Baptist Church Adams Square Square also comes with a heavy burden. My authority to pastor this church comes directly from God, and I must follow the Lord’s leadership regarding this church and how we move forward. “
The letter continued, “Please understand that I have taken every step necessary to ensure the safety of all my members as well as the members of the community I serve.”
A priest in Worcester was criticized for violating state boundaries in responding to the coronavirus.
Father Casey continued to oppose the Governor’s coronavirus advisor who limited the meeting to 10 people or less.
“I really see where they come from. However, there is hypocrisy in that rule,” he said. “I was just at Lowe yesterday. People aren’t six feet long all the time, they bump into each other. We; we keep a distance of six feet.”
Hundreds of pastors around the Commonwealth took a less extreme stance towards the governor’s decision. They wrote a letter to Baker demanding they be allowed to reopen May 18 with safety protocols in place.
“We are very concerned about the emotional and mental stability of people who have long been locked up,” said Father Raphael Najem of CCF Ministries in Lowell.
He and other pastors also want representation in the governor’s Reopening Board.
“We believe that he does a good job, really. Somehow, he ignored us, there were eight thousand churches – in creating this advisory council and not creating a priest in it. “
Father Najem said his church would continue to follow state guidelines, but Father Casey held Sunday services as planned while he waited for the next fine.
“I’m not afraid of being imprisoned. I’m not afraid of being imprisoned. This is a small price to pay to glorify God,” he said.
Worcester officials said further violations could result in criminal complaints.
More than 260 pastors have signed letters to Governor Charlie Baker demanding that he allow them to reopen with the social distance protocol.