In spite of a statewide stay-home order issued by Governor Brad Little March 25 and updated April 2 in response to the COVID-19 crisis, at least one Bonners Ferry church has continued to gather for Sunday services.

"All people in Idaho shall immediately cease hosting or participating in all public and private gatherings and multi-person activities for social, spiritual and recreational purposes, regardless of the number of people involved," Little's order reads.

Saying "the violation of any provision of this Order constitutes an imminent threat to public health," the governor declares violations of its provisions a misdemeanor under Title 56 of Idaho Code, Public Assistance and Welfare, Chapter 10, Department of Health and Welfare, and directs Idaho Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police as well Idaho State Police to ensure compliance.

The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor conviction in Idaho is not more than six months in jail and or up to a $1,000 fine per offense.

Passers by said the parking lot at the Lordship Church, 6606 Main Street, Bonners Ferry, an interdenominational "free church" that does not hold tax-exempt status, was filled at around 11 a.m. Sunday, April 5, the service time listed on the church website.

A video of the service of March 29, "Savorless Salt," is posted on the website, showing no one but pastor Warren Campbell, who greets those gathered, asks them to open their Bibles to Isaiah 59, verse one, and asks "why are we meeting today? ... Why would we defy the governor's orders?"

pastor

Pastor Warren Campbell delivering the sermon "Savorless Salt" at Lordship Church on Sunday, March 29.

He tells his congregation that they should take the health threat seriously and do their best to uphold the isolation order, then errs, saying Governor Otter's order, chuckles as he is corrected by an unseen parishioner, then continues, "we believe that God can hear our prayers, that he answers our prayers and that his arm is not so short that he can't reach down and save and heal us, so we believe that what we are doing today is extremely important and also that it's a mandate of our heavenly father, so we actually have no option."

No video of last Sunday's sermon has been posted.

No other church in Boundary County has defied the governor's order, most having gone to "virtual" services that allow the congregations to meet and interact electronically.

The Altar Church in Coeur d'Alene, led by Pastor and Idaho Congressman Tim Remington, also held services March 29, prompting widespread ire and prompting the church board to override their pastor and close the church doors and show the service electronically.

Remington, appointed by Governor Little January 28 to District two, Seat B, in the Idaho House after John Green was expelled following a federal conspiracy conviction, said he was disappointed in the board's decision but would obey.

Publisher

Mike Weland has been a journalist since serving as battalion Hometown News specialist in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division beginning in 1979. He is publisher, editor and reporter at KootenaiValleyTimes.com, which he launched in March, 2018.

(2) comments

robhawk

The Governor ordered the Director of Health and Welfare to issue the "stay at home order" under the "Martial Law" section 46-601 of Idaho State law. So technically, the Governor did not issue the "Stay at Home" order.

In the order, issued by the Director of Health and Welfare, the Director "requests" law enforcement to ensure compliance and enforce this order. It is not a mandate nor is it a requirement for law enforcement to execute the order. The order would have used the term "shall" if it were mandatory for law enforcement to cite and arrest people.

We know how Covid 19 spreads and individual precautions can be taken that don't destroy the economy or create a perceived state of martial law.

People are naturally being more cautious by washing hands, not touching their face frequently, not shaking hands, and talking several feet apart. Not only does this slow the spread of Covid greatly it also slows every other contageous virus like the cold and flu, which themselves kill thousands each year.

Churches are the most essential and with proper precautions, risk is greatly minimized. I applaud the pastors who take wise precautions and continue to worship on Sunday, especicially with one of the most significant days of the year on Sunday April 12.

When the people in the Government overreach, it is time for the people to hold them accountable with education, peaceful protest, and civil disobedience.

God bless each and everyone one of us...we sure need it.

Springer Bear

Wonderful story, thank you Mr. Weland for letting us know, that there are courageous, God fearing Christians in our little town. Fearing God, not man. Our rights come from God, and only he can take them away.

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