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Lena church defies Pritzker order, holds church services

LENA (WREX) — A church in Lena that has sued Gov. JB Pritzker is defying his executive order and holding church services Sunday morning.

Beloved Church in Lena started its Sunday services at 9:30 a.m. 13 WREX was not allowed inside the services, but a reporter on scene watched multiple people walk in.

Last week, the Beloved Church of Lena and Pastor Stephen Cassell filed a federal complaint with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Rockford.

The lawsuit is against Gov. Pritzker, David Snyders the Stephenson County Sheriff, Craig Beintema, the Stephenson County Public Health Administrator and Steve Schiable, the Village of Lena's police chief, for issuing and enforcing unconstitutional edicts during the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuit says the defendants have "intentionally denigrated Illinois churches and pastors and people of faith by relegating them to second-class citizenship."

Cassell and his church have been issued “cease and desist” orders, and have been threatened with closure and prosecution for continuing to meet for worship, prayer, and Bible study.

On Sunday, they continued to meet, though. A PR firm representing the church says congregants were provided hand sanitzier and family units were spaced 6 feet apart.

The church is also planning on filing a temporary restraining order against the stay-at-home order.

Pritzker has said that most churches have found ways to practice their faith during the COVID-19 pandemic, but churches that do meet are putting people in harm's way.

Audrey Moon

Audrey is the news director at 13 WREX. She’s a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and joined the team at 13 WREX in 2014.

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