NewsCovering Louisiana


Baton Rouge church continues to host Sunday service with hundreds in attendance

Posted at 2:25 PM, Mar 23, 2020

A Louisiana church hosted more than 1,800 people at its Sunday morning service.

WVLA in Baton Rouge says that 26 buses were used to pick people up from around the Baton Rouge area to take them to church.

The church's pastor Tony Spell went against state and federal guidelines for social distancing to hold the service.

Spell tells WLVA that the Life Tabernacle Church in Central believes in the healing hand of Jesus, even through an aggressive global pandemic.

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

Spell says if anyone in his congregation is infected with the virus, 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.

On Sunday, Governor Edwards was asked about the service and he once again addressed it with his same message.

"I would urge that faith leader and all faith leaders to heed this directive and not necessarily engage in mass gatherings where this coronavirus can spread," Edwards said at the Sunday press conference.

Spell identifies himself as a first responder, saying his services will not be stopped, even through the governor's order to shelter in place.

"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.

More than two dozen parishioners at the service donated blood to help save lives during the outbreak.