Churches ordered closed for Easter, but some in Valley worry loved ones will go

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- This weekend is Easter, possibly the most important day on the calendar for Christians.

California's "stay at home" order prevents churches from hosting their congregations to celebrate, but some people told us they're worried about their loved ones finding their way to a public service anyway.

Coronavirus church closures have caused some controversy across the country, but very little in the Central Valley.

RELATED: Coronavirus: List of Central CA churches holding Easter services online

The city of Fresno's code enforcement team has issued warnings to seven churches that stayed open. None of them have gotten fines on follow up visits.

The lead chaplain for Clovis police says he's seen churches adapt to the times.

"We don't have to neglect our fellowship," said the chaplain, Kevin Llanos. "We can still meet. It just is virtually instead of in person."

Some pastors tell us their online, livestreaming services are getting even bigger crowds than they used to get in person.

But in Clovis, one church kept doing services right through Palm Sunday.

"So I've been in contact with her over the last couple weeks," Llanos said of The Revival Center Pastor Sandi Querin. "They have been slowly adapting to this situation."

In an email sent to her congregation this week, she addresses her "Dear Lambs".

"Legally there is no law to not come to church," she said. "If abortion clinics and dope dispensaries can stay open, then so can we. If hospitals can stay open, so can we."

She also touted an oxidation machine that disinfects air in the church, saying it is "certified to kill CoVid", but her air purifier isn't certified to by national health officials.

"If you are able to come, see you on Sunday," her email said.

Querin told Action News Thursday the email was only supposed to go to the people she needs at the church to do a livestream service.

When we asked her if she intended to allow people other than employees into the building, she said, "No. Like I said, the homeless and hurting people know where we are. I am not advertising anyone to come, but if they do I will not turn them away."

The apostle Paul said 'Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.'

Clovis police say they're taking Querin at her word she will now abide by Romans 13:1.

"She's told me that last Sunday was going to be the last in-person Sunday morning service," said Llanos.

Police say the city is finalizing an emergency order that will give them the ability to fine the church if they do open to the public again on Sunday.

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