Last Friday, the Santa Clara County Public Health Office posted a cease and desist letter on North Valley Baptist Church’s doors demanding that in-person worship services stop. The church held morning and evening services on Sunday and were then fined $10,000 ($5,000 per service). The punishment also included the fact that church attendees were singing in each of the services, although social distancing was practiced in the auditorium that seats 3,000 people.
The cease and desist letter posted on the front door of the church said, “North Valley Baptist is failing to prevent those attending, performing and speaking at North Valley Baptist’s services from singing. This activity is unlawful. The county understands that singing is an intimate and meaningful component of religious worship. However, public health experts have also determined that singing together in close proximity and without face coverings transmits virus particles further in the air than breathing or speaking quietly. The county demands that North Valley Baptist immediately cease the activities listed above and fully comply with the Risk Reduction Order, the Gatherings Directive, the State July 13 Order and the State guidance. Failure to do so will result in enforcement action by the county.”
Pastor Jack Trieber said, “Twenty-four weeks ago, we wanted to err on the side of safety so we shut down everything. And we closed down as we were instructed.”
That meant that North Valley Baptist Church:
- Stopped having in-person worship services.
- Closed the K4 through 12 Christian school.
- Closed the college that trains men and women from all over the country for the gospel.
- Closed the bus ministry that has been gone throughout the entire valley for 45 years and brought 1.5 million people to church.
- Closed down the jail ministry,
- Closed the public school ministry.
- Closed ministry in 14 rest homes.
- Closed down door-to-door visitation.
- Closed down hospital visitation.
- Closed down all children’s ministries.
- Closed Sunday School.
“For 24 weeks, we have tried to obey authority. We were told that thousands were going to die. There are 2.1 million people in our valley. We obeyed to the letter. Now we have found out not thousands have perished but 224 people, 90 plus were in rest homes. God bless them. But this is America. To think that a person can say you cannot sing at church. You cannot preach without a mask on. You cannot communicate with people. They said, ‘Pastor, you can meet with 60 people outside, but we cannot sing,’” said Pastor Trieber.
Pastor Trieber has served at North Valley Baptist Church for 45 years. However, now he has been forced to risk imprisonment in order to stand for God and for his congregation. He said, “Little children and parents are weeping. They want to come to church. You can’t make laws against the church. We have the right to worship. But more than a right from the Constitution, we have a command from God. I’m in charge of the spiritual health of the people in this city and this area. Health is important but spiritual health is supreme. And because we have been locked out of this county of churches, suicide is up, domestic violence is up, drug addiction is up, homelessness and alcoholism is up. We need to get back to worshipping God. I am commanded to worship God. I plead with you. Back off. Open up the spiritual environment of this valley immediately.”
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “North Valley Baptist Church provides physical, emotional and spiritual services to that community. As a result of Governor Newsom’s unconstitutional orders, the church has closed down all of its ministries and the people in the valley are suffering. And this church is just one example of many churches. This is wrong, and the governor’s unconstitutional hostility against religious worship must end.”