Calvary Chapel of Bangor’s residential discipleship program is helping to save lives like Emily’s.
Emily was a drug addict, a thief, and a manipulator. She had failed out of college, lost many jobs, and caused division in her family. She felt hopeless. Then Emily was caught stealing at her workplace and faced jail for grand larceny. But God intervened and led her to the Calvary Residential Discipleship (CRD) program, the church’s Christ-centered alternative to secular recovery programs within the drug and alcohol community. There Emily learned about God’s love and how to surrender. She participated in the work program, daily Bible studies, devotional readings, and prayer. She attended mandatory church services. She turned away from addiction and embraced Jesus Christ.
Emily recently celebrated 16 years of sobriety.
Liberty Counsel will soon file the reply brief to the U.S. District Court of Maine regarding a renewed preliminary injunction on behalf of Calvary Chapel of Bangor asking the court to strike down Governor Janet Mills’ unconstitutional 50-person restriction imposed against churches and places of worship.
Pastor Ken Graves said, “It is the language chosen by our governor’s order that reveals the Christian church is in fact being targeted and discriminated against. Our state government has told the church that it is nonessential. I disagree in the strongest terms. We are among the most essential things that must remain open. Wiser governments in the past actually looked to the churches to gather and pray and to pool their resources in times of crises. The government has told the church that it is irrelevant and that it offers nothing. I reject that. We are not irrelevant, and we have more to offer than our governor apparently realizes.”
Regular attendance at church services is mandatory for the students in the program. Therefore, there will always be a minimum of 48 students at worship services on any given Sunday and Wednesday. When combined with Pastor Graves, the staff of seven or eight, and the other pastors, the governor’s orders preclude Calvary Chapel’s CRD residents from worshipping in the church. They can meet for substance abuse counseling that does not involve Bible studies and worship, but as soon as they worship, the assembly is illegal.
Moreover, the 50-person limit also prevents any other church members who are not in the CRD program from attending worship. Yet, worshipping with those not in the residential program is essential for the CRD program. It is not an option for Calvary Chapel to preclude its members and congregants from attending religious worship services as that is the reason this church exists.
Pastor Graves, said, “The government wrongly presumes to have the authority to violate our constitutionally guaranteed and God-given rights to freedom of religion and peaceful assembly.”
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Governor Janet Mills’ unconstitutional actions must end. Calvary Chapel of Bangor and all houses of worship are not only essential to the community but have special protections under the First Amendment. Liberty Counsel is continuing to defend Calvary Chapel until the governor’s unconstitutional ban is lifted because lives like Emily’s are worth the fight.”