Pastor at San Jose church avoids jail time for holding in-person services

ByABC7 News Staff KGO logo
Friday, January 22, 2021
San Jose pastor avoids jail time for in-person masses at church
On Thursday, the Santa Clara County Superior Court ruled Pastor Mike McClure of San Jose's Calvary Chapel will not be jailed for contempt of court after holding in-person masses for months against county health orders.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- On Thursday, the Santa Clara County Superior Court ruled a South Bay church pastor threatened with jail time for holding in-person services will remain free for now.

Robert Tyler, an attorney for Calvary Chapel in San Jose, made the announcement on the court steps just after 5 p.m. following the contempt hearing.

RELATED: San Jose church fighting back against county as pastor faces fines, jail time for holding indoor services

Santa Clara County sued Calvary Chapel Pastor Mike McClure and his church to stop it from hosting indoor services without face masks amid a worsening COVID-19 pandemic.

"The county has expressly said that they're only looking for monetary sanctions," Tyler says. "Not looking to put Pastor McClure or Pastor Carson Atherley in jail, thank God. "

WATCH: Bay Area church continues to defy health order by holding mask-free indoor Christmas Eve service

Calvary Chapel San Jose held an indoor Christmas Eve candlelight service Thursday night, a direct violation of the state and county public health order as COVID cases surge across the Bay Area.

Dozens of members from the South Bay congregation turned out to the courthouse to support their pastor.

The church still faces more than $1 million in administrative fines for a slew of violations including hosting indoor services without masks for months.

RELATED: San Jose church repeatedly fined for defying health order received $340K in taxpayer money

According to county officials, so far no fines have been paid.

The case will be back in court on Jan. 28 for closing arguments.