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As Democratic mayors and governors continue to keep houses of worship shuttered during the COVID-19 pandemic, the faithful have begun looking for other ways to practice their religious beliefs.
Last month, hundreds gathered in and around Washington Square Park in New York City to be baptized or to watch others undertake the Christian religious practice, according to reports based on social media posts and video.
“This is Truly Biblical Time we Live in,” one Twitter user wrote in a post featuring baptism video in the park. “What a great time to be alive.”
The NYC baptisms are reportedly linked to the “Let Us Worship” movement hosted by Sean Feucht, who travels to parts of the country where churches, mosques, and synagogues are shuttered due to coronavirus — even as big-box retailers, grocery stores, and other ‘essential’ businesses have been allowed to remain open throughout the pandemic.
GodTV reported that the movement began after Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, began censoring online worship services that Feucht led.
Here’s another video of the event at Washington Square Park:
“Basically, they are blocking … any narrative except the one they want to push, which is strife, rioting, and violence. And they wouldn’t cover the fact that people are coming together in these places of trauma and they’re bringing hope and bringing healing and bringing restoration and reconciliation,” he told The Stream, according to GodTV in July.
“I would say [it is] hypocritical at best, given the fact that the state government largely endorsed the mass protest that included tens of thousands of people, and also included a lot of chanting and a lot of yelling. And I wasn’t against those, but I am against the hypocritical nature of not allowing the church to meet,” he added.
Christians in other parts of the country are also bypassing in-church restrictions by holding services and acts of faith and worship in an unconventional manner.
Later in July, hundreds of mostly mask-less Christians gathered at Huntington Beach, Calif., to worship and pray, with some getting baptized, the Orange County Register reported.
“When I act, everything feels more intensified,” said actor Stefan Marchand. “It was the same feeling I had when I came out of the water, except it was that times 100. It was the most incredible feeling.”
The services are part revival, part baptism, and part regular worship, the paper added. Costa Mesa couple Jessi and Parker Green began organizing the events July 3, as Gov. Gavin Newsom continued to keep churches shuttered, ostensibly to stop the spread of COVID-19.
After allowing businesses to reopen in the middle of the month, Newsom re-ordered them closed again as coronavirus cases climbed. But none of that seemed to matter to the Huntington Beach worshippers.
“I was worried if anyone would even come,” Jessi Green said of the July 3 event. “But, about 300 people showed up and it was amazing.”
More turned up in the subsequent weeks as word spread via social media.
And earlier this month, Christians gathered in a Walmart in North Versailles, Pa., amid that state’s ongoing COVID-19 church closures.
Video of the religious gathering was posted to Facebook by Nancy Halford, who reportedly works at the North Versailles Walmart.
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