NEWBURY PARK (CBSLA) -- Ventura County officials are pushing back against a church leader's decision to hold packed indoor services during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hundreds of worshippers attended services at Godspeak Calvary Church in Newbury Park on Sunday after the pastor refused to close doors or move services outdoors despite county orders.
The court asked on Monday to hold lead pastor Rob McCoy in contempt for his defiance and allow Ventura County sheriff's deputies to take all means necessary to stop indoor services at the church.
Now with the court's intervention, the court can face fines and McCoy could be jailed, which drew mixed reactions from the community.
Godspeak Calvary and Pastor McCoy have been outspoken since the beginning of the pandemic to keep churches open.
The pastor thanked supporters on Instagram for the service on Sunday that he said brought out 2,500 worshippers.
"People came from all over the state and country to show support. Words cannot fully describe what took place yesterday. One pastor came out with his congregation specifically to receive citations on behalf of everyone else. Other pastors stood outside speaking to protestors and news so that others could come inside and attend.
The church says it uses UV lights and other sanitizing measures, and follows capacity guidelines for its buildings to help keep parishioners safe, but regardless of the actions they take, under state and county order, they are not allowed to hold services indoors.
"We're tired of the politics of all of it. Let it go away, let us have our freedom back," McCoy said.
The Ventura County court hearing about the fate of the church following it disobeying the order is scheduled for Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. A contempt hearing is also scheduled for later this week.
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