Downtown Fresno church continues indoor services despite Gov. Newsom's order

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's going to take more than an order from the governor to stop Cornerstone Church in Downtown Fresno from conducting their Sunday service.

"I think we need to come to church and if you are able to come to church, then you ought to get out and go to church," said Cornerstone Church Pastor Jim Franklin during their Sunday service.

Last Monday, Gov. Newsom ordered that indoor church services be temporarily suspended and moved outdoors as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Franklin said the order infringes on his and his parishioner's rights to worship.

Instead of following the order, he chose to conduct service indoors, just like he has over the last several weeks.

"It was a great service today, many people showed up. We had people that drove all the way here all the way from Visalia, because they say they are looking for a church that is open," he said.

According to Franklin, it's too hot to move services outside and he doesn't have the outdoor space to make it a viable option.

Cross City Christian Church, on the other hand, had a large turnout at each of their outdoor services.

To comply with the mandate, they have added a fourth service at 8 a.m. on Sunday mornings.

"I mean, they understand we are in challenging times, but there was a lot of enthusiasm to physically gather," said Associate Pastor Brent Deffenbacher.

Deffenbacher said they are still trying to determine what next week will look like, but they're leaning towards online and outdoor services.

Meanwhile, Franklin said they'll continue welcoming people inside Cornerstone Church for worship.

"We are not fighting the Governor, we are not protesting the governor; we are standing up for those individuals that attend our church, to provide the services that we believe are necessary," he said.
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