NW Side Church Holds Service Despite $500 Fine, ‘Nuisance’ Label

Nancy Harty
May 24, 2020 - 3:27 pm
    CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Despite a fine and orders to shut it down, an Albany Park church continued to hold in-person services Sunday morning.  

    There were temperature checks at the door, offers of masks and hand sanitizer and three-seat spacing between congregants at Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church at its 9 a.m. service.  

    Just two days after receiving a letter from the Chicago Public Health Department declaring them a public health nuisance, Pastor Cristian Ionescu took to the pulpit.

    "Instead of embracing our competent, resourceful, creative and proven model, the authorities are doubling down on their obvious intent to shut us down," Ionescu said.

    Afterward he stood underneath a banner of the First Amendment outside the church and told reporters the city is threatening to potentially demolish his church.

    He was joined by Brian Gibson, a Kentucky pastor who heads a group called Peaceably Gather.

    He asked, "why is it that the coronavirus only affects people in church houses but it doesn't in the grocery store?"

    Ionescu said he’s not afraid and will continue his peaceful civil disobedience by continuing to hold services on Sundays.

    Elim Romanian Pentecostal was one of three churches the city fined $500 last week for violating the state's stay-at-home order.

    NW Side Church Holds Service Despite $500 Fine, ‘Nuisance’ Label
    Nancy Harty/ WBBM