Lodi church gets locked out of Palm Sunday service by landlord

As churches nationwide embrace digital services during coronavirus quarantine, one congregation found itself locked out in the cold on Palm Sunday after attempting to hold in-person services.

Congregants of the Cross Culture Christian Center in Lodi found themselves locked out of their church after the church’s landlord – Bethel Open Bible Church – changed the locks on the building.

“We were advised that the building has been closed down to us, that the locks have been changed,” Pastor Jon Duncan said to KCRA.

It’s not church’s first run-in with quarantine orders. After Cross Culture held a church service on March 29, the San Joaquin County Health Department issued a cease and desist to Bethel Open Bible Church demanding its church facilities be shuttered, per a public health order.

“We don’t believe that a virus cancels the First Amendment,” Duncan said.

Lodi police reported to the church were on the scene to enforce the emergency order, just in case anyone tried to enter the church.

Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.