Pastor of One of California's Largest Churches Has No Plans to Stop Singing

Places of worship are temporarily restricted from singing and chanting in California, but one pastor has no intention of ordering his choir to stop the music.

Dr. Paul Chappell, pastor of Lancaster Baptist Church and president of West Coast Baptist College, told his congregation of more than 9,000 members that he would not enforce the new rule, noting that he believes "that the word of God determines how we worship not Sacramento."

Pastor of One of California's Largest Churches
Pastor at one of California's largest churches has no plans of stopping his choir from singing despite Governor Gavin Newsom's new restriction temporarily restricting singing and chanting in places of worship. The state's Department of Public Health announced the new order on July 1, 2020. iStock / Getty Images Plus

"This week we received notice from Sacramento that we should not sing in church," Chappell said during Sunday's service. "They first told us when we should worship and we have very kindly complied. Now, we are being told how to worship."

The pastor continued by comparing the government's new order to a passage in the Bible.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord," Chappell said while reading from Colossians 3:16.

Chappell did note that he was more than 16 feet away from his members while those in pews were practicing social distancing by sitting at least six feet apart. The pastor also pointed out that everyone in the church—aside from him and a pulpit attendant—were wearing facial coverings.

He then invited his church to rise in song. "Make a joyful noise to the Lord this morning," Chappell added.

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Posted by Lancaster Baptist Church on Sunday, July 5, 2020

Newsweek has reached out to Chappell for comment but did not hear back at the time of publication.

The order banning places of worship from singing went into effect in California on Wednesday in an attempt to curb the state's growing number of coronavirus cases. With more than 264,800 cases of coronavirus and nearly 6,400 deaths reported in the state, the number of residents testing positive for the virus has significantly increased since California began easing lockdown restrictions. Over the Fourth of July weekend, Los Angeles County health officials revealed more than 7,200 new cases of COVID-19 had popped up and 30 more people have died, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

By temporarily banning singing and chanting at churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship, health officials hope to start flattening the curve once again.

"Practices and performances present an increased likelihood for transmission of Covid-19 through contaminated exhaled droplets and should occur through alternative methods like internet streaming," the Department of Public Health's 14-page order states.

Bars in Los Angeles and other California counties have been hit with restrictions. Just weeks after allowing businesses to reopen, Newsom ordered bars in coronavirus hot spots across the state to close doors once again.

"Californians must remain vigilant against this virus," Newsom said last week. "COVID-19 is still circulating in California, and in some parts of the state, growing stronger. That's why it is critical we take this step to limit the spread of the virus in the counties that are seeing the biggest increases."