Pastor Bob Jackson of Oakland’s Acts Full Gospel Church leading religious leaders in prayer as they ask for churches to be allowed to hold in-person services during phase two reopening. pic.twitter.com/4xK1GpbYso— Eric Thomas (@ericthomaskgo) May 14, 2020
Pastor Jim Domen of Churches United in Southern California summed up the other pastor's feelings when he said, "the church is essential. The people of god are essential." That's a reference to Governor Gavin Newsom banning church services as nonessential during the coronavirus pandemic.
RELATED: Reopening California: Newsom gives guidelines to reopen dine-in restaurants, malls, offices and more in CA
About 40 Clergymen and women from all over the state held a news conference in the parking lot of Oakland's Acts Full Gospel Church to argue that the Governor's order banning church services is not only government overreach, it also puts people's mental health at risk.
"You get suicide, you get depression you get mental problems," said Bishop Bob Jackson of Acts Full Gospel Church.
One by one, the religious leaders stepped up to the mic to ask why grocery stores could be open but houses of worship could not.
"Can't we reopen under the same conditions that the stores and supermarkets, marijuana clinics and tattoo parlors are opening under?" asked Bishop Michael Barber of the Diocese of Oakland.
Religious leaders at Oakland’s Acts Full Gospel Church pleading tight be allowed to reopen in phase 2. They say if Safeway and Costco can be open - with safety measures - so can houses of worship. pic.twitter.com/rVS6SLptsm— Eric Thomas (@ericthomaskgo) May 14, 2020
Both Bishop Barber - whose diocese covers 85 churches in Alameda and Contra Costa County, and Bishop Jackson - whose Acts Full Gospel Church holds 4,000 parishioners say they already have protocols in place, including masks, seating to keep parishioners 6 feet apart, and cleaning and disinfecting of pews after every service.
RELATED: Coronavirus: California pastor continues to defy stay-at-home order by holding church services, citing First Amendment
Some of these churches say they are ready to reopen May 31, regardless of what the Governor says and to that end they all ready have legal representation.
"Our goal is to defend the first amendment right to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ," said Riverside County Attorney Robert Tyler who says he's got an army of lawyers ready to defend any church leaders who defy the governor's order and risk arrest.
Bishop Jackson says he's willing to be arrested for the cause.
"I'm willing because I do believe we have a right to do it," he said.
The clergyman also say they chose May 31 as their day of action because it is Pentacost Sunday - the day the Christian Church was born 2,000 years ago.
RELATED: Coronavirus and Easter: Mass without the masses
If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.
Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- COVID-19 Help: Comprehensive list of resources, information
- INTERACTIVE TIMELINE: How close was CA to becoming a NY-level crisis?
- Live updates about coronavirus outbreak in US, around the world
- What will it take to get a COVID-19 vaccine and how will it be made?
- How California's COVID-19 cases stack up against other hot spot states
- Everything you need to know about the Bay Area's shelter-in-place order
- Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area/
- List: Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in the Bay Area?
- COVID-19 Diaries: Personal stories of Bay Area residents during novel coronavirus pandemic
- Coronavirus Doctor's Note: Dr. Alok Patel gives his insight into COVID-19 pandemic
- What does COVID-19 do to your body and why does it spread so easily?
- Stimulus calculator: How much money should you expect from coronavirus relief bill
- WATCH: 'Race & Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation' virtual town hall about COVID-19 impact on Asian American community
- WATCH: 'Race & Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation' virtual town hall about COVID-19 impact on African American community
- WATCH: 'Race & Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation' virtual town hall about COVID-19 impact on Latino community
- What Bay Area tenants need to know about rent payments, eviction amid COVID-19 outbreak
- Here's how shelter in place, stay at home orders can slow spread of COVID-19
- Symptoms, prevention, and how to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak in the US
- List of stores, companies closing due to coronavirus pandemic
- Canceled late fees, free services available amid COVID-19 crisis
- Here's how you can help during COVID-19 pandemic
- How to maintain learning during school closures
- No masks but here are 100+ products that may help protect you against novel coronavirus germs
- Here's a look at some of history's worst pandemics that have killed millions