WORCESTER (CBS) — A pastor in Worcester held a service with more than 10 parishioners at his church Sunday despite the warning and fines he has received. While some supporters stood by Pastor Kris Casey at Adams Square Baptist Church, critics call his actions “misguided” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Casey has already been fined twice for ignoring Gov. Charlie Baker’s ban on gatherings of more than 10 people.READ MORE: Ex-Boston Officer Patrick Rose Stayed On Force Despite Abuse Allegation
“We have a right to disobey,” Casey told WBZ-TV. “I can’t baptize someone on a zoom meeting.”
Holding signs and flags, a few dozen folks gathered outside the church morning to support Casey’s decision to hold service in violation of the state’s coronavirus emergency orders.
“I came out today to not only support this pastor but to support religious freedom as a whole,” David Topaz said.
“I wanted to make that bold statement. To honor the worship, the freedom of worship,” said attendee Verna Khamtzian.
Kasey said he has been warned but he stands by his decision despite not knowing if he will be fined or arrested.READ MORE: Woman Seeks Funeral Reimbursement From FEMA After Losing Husband, Father To COVID
“Our church seats between 300 and 325. I didn’t count how many came in — more than 10,” said Kasey.
According to the pastor, the church was cleaned three times in the past week and a number of precautions were in place.
“We had a lady check everyone’s temperature,” he said. “I told everyone if you take masks off, you’re going to be escorted out. If you take your gloves off, you’re going to be escorted out.”
Scott Shafer disagrees with the pastor’s decision. He held up his own sign that said “limiting the size of gatherings saves lives” across the street from the church.
He said he is a religious person who wants to go to church but “it’s a decision to help prevent the disease. This decision to rush gatherings is going to cost lives.”MORE NEWS: 'He Was My Motor, I Was His Heart': Rick Hoyt Remembers Father, Boston Marathon Icon
The church said they will continue to hold service with limited seating until the full ban is lifted.