Orrington Church Loses Lawsuit, Holds In-Person Services Outside
Worshippers gathered in Orrington on Sunday, despite the fact that a judge had ruled in favor of the governor in the lawsuit levied by Calvary Chapel.
It was a chilly morning for an outdoor church service, but it didn't keep the parishioners of the River Road church away. Meeting in front of the main building, the congregation sat in chairs that had been set out, clad in hats and coats, with warm blankets over their laps. Tall outdoor heaters were set up to help ward off the chill and, during one of the early services, Pastor Ken Graves made reference to a fire that had started in one of the buses that could have kept them warm had they not extinguished it. Penobscot County Sheriff's Department cruisers were parked a short distance away from the church entrance, just in case. But, in the end, they weren't needed. The morning went quietly.
On Friday, a judge ruled against the church's lawsuit, which had called the governor's executive order against in-person worship services unconstitutional. The judge explained that Janet Mills' order had nothing to do with banning worship, and everything to do with stopping the spread of COVID-19 by prohibiting public gatherings. Pastor Graves says the church's legal representative, Liberty Counsel, has already filed an appeal.
Technically, Pastor Graves and his parishioners were breaking the law by gathering on Sunday, but there's no been no word of any charges. Graves, who believes he had COVID-19 in January, says he is working on how the church will resume the Sunday evening services. There were three services held during the day, with some people sitting in chairs, while others opted to stay in their vehicles and listen to the service on the church's radio station.