Los Angeles terminates a lease agreement with Grace Community Church after it resumed services
Earlier this month, Grace Community Church, led by Pastor John MacArthur, reopened for in-person worship services against LA county health guidelines
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After reopening for in-person worship services against state and county health guidelines, Grace Community Church of Los Angeles received a letter from the city this week terminating a lease agreement for a large part of the megachurch's parking lot.
According to the letter, the church has been given a 30-day notice that it will no longer be able to pay rent on the parking lot land, which it has been doing continuously since 1975.
Grace Community Church recently sued the state of California, Gov. Gavin Newsom, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti for its right to reopen.
The church argued a need for congregants to gather in worship after months apart and that the government repeatedly lied about the length of coronavirus shutdowns, which they have now extended indefinitely.
The legal complaint called the continued closures "neither necessary nor good."
Special Counsel to the Thomas More Society Jenna Ellis, who is defending Grace Community Church, said of the city's decision to end the church's longstanding lease, "Los Angeles County is retaliating against [church leaders] for simply exercising their constitutionally protected right to hold church and challenging an unreasonable, unlawful health order."
"The Democrats' message to Americans is clear – if you don't bow to every whim of tyranny, the government will come after you. The church has peacefully held this lease for 45 years, and the only reason the county is attempting eviction is because (Pastor) John MacArthur stood up to their unconstitutional power grab. This is harassment, abusive, and unconscionable," she continued.
In July, MacArthur announced his intention to reopen his church for in-person gathering, which was met with a cease-and-desist letter from Los Angeles officials.
On Sunday August 9, the church opened for an in-person worship service anyway, which MacArthur called "the Grace Community Church peaceful protest."
The church's lawsuit cited the significant differences in approach and attitude that the city government has taken toward gatherings of religious institutions during the pandemic, in comparison to mass protests.
"We're a church, and we're going to trust those people to make adult decisions about the reality of their physical and spiritual health," MacArthur told CNN in early August.
"We will remain open and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all who decide they want to come worship with us," he said.