Pastor Nick White of Dedham Massachusetts is a church planter. He recently started the church, Victory Baptist Church in Dedham, about a year and a half ago. Monday May 4th he received a call from the town’s health department telling him if he held a service he would receive a cease and desist order. He told them that he would abide by every social distancing guideline including holding multiple services to keep each service less than 10 people per service. That didn’t matter to them.
He then received a cease and desist order Wednesday May 6th by email from the HD.
On a Facebook post pastor White said, “I’m not trying to be a rebel rouser, we’re just trying to have church. ”
“It’s time to finally have church again,”
Pastor White said in a phone interview with the New Boston Post.
“It’s been about five weeks. We’ll reopen in stages, and this is our first stage of reopening. It’s going to continue.”
Despite the Governor’s executive order from March 23 stating that gatherings of ten or less are permitted he is still being told to stand down. Which has Pastor White puzzled.
This blatant attack on the Church is at best unconstitutional. At worst malicious, since pastor White is going above and beyond to abide by every social distancing guideline during the service. The pastor still plans on holding services this Sunday so we’ll see what happens, though Pastor White himself is not even sure what will happen since he’s not breaking any laws put forth by the Governor. If malicious action is taken against Pastor White I foresee legal action against the city. And I don’t think it will bode well for them since they are clearly legally out of line.
This Corona Virus has really brought out the worst in many local governments exposing their authoritarian nature.
Here is a portion of the cease and desist letter from the cities health department:
WHEREAS, Victory Baptist Church is not a business providing essential services pursuant to Exhibit A of COVID-19 Order No. 13; and WHEREAS, on May 6, 2020 was observed advertising for services to be held on May 10, 2020 in violation of COVID-19 Order No. 13. WHEREBY, you are hereby ordered to immediately cease and desist from operating Victory Baptist Church until such time as the Governor rescinds COVID-19 Order No. 13.