"Church door in Suomenlinna In Helsinki" by John Samuel / CC BY-SA 4.0

Landlord changes locks on California church after pastor said he’d continue to hold services

Apr 7, 2020

By Lisa Fernandez

Members of a central California church found themselves locked out of the building after the pastor originally kept his doors open, saying the shelter-in-place orders violated his freedom to assemble.

But within the past week, the landlord of the Cross Culture Christian Center in Lodi, Calif. changed the locks, so congregants couldn’t enter the building for Palm Sunday services. The landlord is Bethel Open Bible Church.

The San Joaquin County Health Department had ordered the church to shut down last week.

A small gathering of congregants showed up Sunday; they had been poised to defy the shelter-in-place order. And they weren’t pleased with the turn of events.

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