State bans singing in churches, other houses of worship

Local News

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — The worsening pandemic is once again affecting houses of worship. While people can still attend, the state is banning singing and chanting during religious services.

“It’s not just the preaching or the prayer or the coming together, but being able to lift our voices as the bible says ‘unto the Lord’ and sing together,” Brad Liebe, the executive pastor, and COO for Peoples Church said Friday.

Liebe said the mandate means they’ll be doing things a bit differently.

“We will not be having congregational singing. We will still have a worship team that will lead in an environment and ambiance of prayer and worship, but not congregational singing,” he said.

The order came Wednesday as Governor Gavin Newsom announced plans to scale back reopening in certain sectors and areas.

“We were able to bend the curve in the state of California, we’re going to bend this curve again,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously warned against singing and transmission of the virus.

The new health order reads:

“Convening in a congregational setting of multiple different households to practice a personal faith carries a relatively higher risk for widespread transmission of the COVID-19 virus… Activities such as singing and chanting negate the risk reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing…. Places of worship must, therefore, discontinue singing and chanting activities”

Earlier this week New Covenant Community Church immediately stopped in-person services after finding out someone who attended tested positive for COVID-19.

“Every church out there (is) autonomous. Their leadership is going through the same stuff that we’re going through and I would say I’m praying for all those other churches that can continue to meet. I pray that they can, and I hope that this doesn’t happen.” Lead Pastor Scott Borman said.

Places of worship are now working to balance the communities safety needs, with their spiritual ones.

“I truly believe that the best days are to come this isn’t the end of the world as we know it, this is the beginning of something God is going to do in our community,” Liebe said.

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