Pastor refuses to close church doors: ‘If you have coronavirus, I declare you healed in Jesus’ name’

A pastor in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania continued to hold services Sunday as coronavirus continues to spread throughout the state.

More than 100 church-goers attended the sermon by Word of Life Senior Pastor Tom Walters, who held the services at the church’s Hempfield Township facility, CBS Pittsburgh reports. Walters, who said in his sermon that the virus was “demonic in origin,” is facing criticism for keeping church doors open.

“There’s a lot of people that are criticizing us, but most of them don’t come to our church,” Walters said during his sermon, adding, “If there is one person, or two people, three people, who may be carrying the coronavirus, we declare you healed in Jesus’ name.”

The church’s decision to keep its doors open goes against warnings that were issued by health and government officials and drew criticism on the church’s Facebook page.

“You’re not spreading God’s word, you’re spreading this virus,” one person remarked.

“Have some consideration for your healthcare worker and shut it down!!!!” said another.

The church issued a statement Monday, apologizing for the services and now says its doors will be closed but its services will be live-streamed.

The number of reported coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania stands at 1,687 and The Philadelphia Inquirer reports at least 14 people within the state have died.

Megan Hamilton

Megan Hamilton has traveled extensively throughout the Southern United States, Mexico, and parts of Central America. A lifelong atheist, these travels have informed her political views. She currently lives in a remote location with a large herd of cats and four dogs.