Following their fourth failed attempt last Tuesday to force Christians from peaceably gathering together for worship services, Los Angeles County issued a letter to Grace Community Church evicting them from a portion of their parking lot.

“…the District is exercising its right to terminate the Agreement by giving a minimum of 30-day written notice of intention to terminate,” the letter dated August 28th reads.

The letter does not indicate any reason for the County’s decision to terminate its 45-year-long lease with the church. It only cites the right of LA County Flood Control District to terminate the lease at any time.

The termination will go into effect on October 1st, by which time Grace Community Church must have removed all personal property.

Grace Community Church, led by Pastor John MacArthur, has been in legal battles with the County of Los Angeles since July when the church re-opened its doors to congregants in violation of continued COVID-19 shutdowns.

The church had voluntarily shut down to protect their congregants and the Los Angeles community from the coronavirus pandemic in March, and remained closed through the first half of July. During that time, the church engaged in community outreach, such as providing groceries to hungry families, continuing its prison ministry, and even assisting the city during summer protests. The church has received awards for their efforts in the community.

On July 23rd, the board of elders at Grace Community Church voted unanimously to reopen the church. Shortly afterward, they received a letter from the County threatening fines of up to $1,000 and imprisonment of up to 30 days if they did not cease their meetings.

MacArthur and his board of elders stood their ground, arguing that the government has no authority to trample the First Amendment rights of the church to assemble. The church issued a statement defending this belief:

“…when any government official issues orders regulating worship (such as bans on singing, caps on attendance, or prohibitions against gatherings and services), he steps outside the legitimate bounds of his God-ordained authority as a civic official…”

The county has argued that their mandates on attendance numbers and even bans on singing indoors are all in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and that the health of the county reigns supreme above the church’s right to meet together.

Last Tuesday, the battle went to the California Superior Court, where Los Angeles County was seeking a temporary restraining order against Grace Community Church. In a 5-page opinion, Judge Mitchell Beckloff denied the County’s request, concluding that the application did not meet statutory requirements.

Pastor MacArthur was thankful to Judge Beckloff for the decision, and called the county’s actions “an illegitimate misuse of power.”

“It should shock the conscience of every Christian that churches are coming under assault from our own government simply for holding church,” MacArthur stated. “Church is essential.”

For an eviction of the church from property leased for 45 years to follow on the heels of this ruling, without any separate cause being cited, raises red flags.

Jenna Ellis, Special Counsel to Thomas More Society (the law firm representing Grace Community Church), called the eviction a measure of retaliation. She defended the church’s actions in continuing to meet together as a “constitutionally protected right.”

“In America, we have a judicial system to ensure that the executive branch does not abuse its power, and Grace Community Church has every right to be heard without fear or reprisal,” she said.

“The Church has peacefully held this lease for 45 years and the only reason the County is attempting eviction is because John MacArthur stood up to their unconstitutional power grab. This is harassment, abusive, and unconscionable.”

The next hearing for the church and the county is scheduled for September 4th in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Caitlin Bassett

Caitlin Bassett graduated from Liberty University in 2017 with her Bachelor's in Politics and Policy. She grew up in the great Pacific Northwest, but now calls Northern California home as she pursues ministry school.

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  • It’s a shame that churches, businesses, property getting set on fire, even hearing the words death to America in a video as they were starting a fire isn’t troubling to some. It’s crazy that kids being killed doesn’t seem to matter, the main news channels that are all in line will use the same exact words like they get a memo for words of the day, sad that another death during protesting there calling “far right agitator” because he had prayer on his hat. I’m praying for healing, sick of hearing privilege being used as a race issue when it’s a money issue. I’m not & never have been privileged & have lived through alot of hard times & dealt with some harsh things so we can all relate even if there different types of hardship, I’ve been pulled over & complied even tho I felt I was being harassed & got out, been searched. We need conversations not violence, as far as police there mostly good, anybody wonder why they have been going against Tim Scott’s bill for police reform? Trump agrees with his bill & wants it passed, the very ones that don’t are doing it on purpose to keep the unrest, there using the unrest that’s got out of control, if the speaker of the house & her crew would be passing those bills instead of deliberately holding back we would be seeing progress. If people would stop watching,CNN & the other channels that all knowingly tell false stories or show partial stories not quoting things word for word things plus having people on saying yes keep pushing, keep up the riots no matter what, saying they will burn down cities on tv.. then you get chaos! The governor’s & mayors are in charge of there states, I see them lining there pockets, not putting back into there community, not keeping there citizens safe. Trump is supposed to be strong, we need a strong leader to keep our country safe but he also has a heart & has kept every promise he made plus so many more. Look past the tweets, look at the facts & think, why would the far left want him out so bad..also lots of children & women being saved from sex trafficking they don’t wanna talk about on certain channels. Think people, just open your mind regardless of what’s been drilled into it!

  • We are in a battle, but it is a spiritual battle. This country needs to hit their knees and have a come to Jesus meeting. We must first off pray that this nation would repent and turn back to God. We have kicked him out of everything, and he has turned this contry to its self.