Louisiana church hosts more than 1,800 people amid COVID-19 outbreak

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BATON ROUGE, La. (WVLA) — The Life Tabernacle Church hosted 1,825 people at their Sunday morning service.

26 buses were used to pick people up from around the Baton Rouge area and transport them to Sunday service.

Pastor Tony Spell says the way to handle a pandemic is through the healing hand of Jesus.

“That is our command, they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.”

Social distancing did not happen at the service, held outside. All 1,825 people were spread across the campuses seven buildings.

Throughout the service, parishioners could be seen touching each other and closely gathering, very few wearing masks or gloves.

Spell says if anyone in his congregation contracts COVID-19, he will heal them through God.

“I’m going to address that by laying hands on them and praying for them and depending on God to heal their body,” Spell said.

When asked, Governor Edwards addressed the controversial service with his same message from the beginning.

“I would urge that faith leaders and all faith leaders to heed this directive and not necessarily engage in mass gatherings where this coronavirus can spread,” Edwards said.

Spell says pastors must act as first responders.

“When the paramedics can’t get there, when the law enforcement can’t get there, the holy ghost can get there, it will make a difference in someone’s life,” Spell said.

Pastor Tony Spell says 1,000 covered lunches were served, 9 water baptisms took place and parishioners donated 30 pints of blood.

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