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Local places of worship set for changes in purple tier: operations move outdoors and virtually

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Posted at 5:49 AM, Nov 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-17 19:27:45-05

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to its knees, including believers.

“It’s about taking it day by day and going slow in the process,” Angelo Frazier, Riverlakes Church's Pastor of Outreach and Care said.

Cases climb, and Kern County has reverted back to the most restrictive tier, purple as we await a vaccine. In the midst of it all, local religious officials are urging residents not to lose faith.

“That’s an important part of our life right now, is to have a spirit of hope and faith that things will improve, that there will be an opportunity once again to resume things in a normal fashion,” Gary f. Carter, President of the Bakersfield, California Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints said.

And things were just starting to go back to normal in the red tier, as Carter said that local Latter-Day Saint congregations were switching between smaller in-person groups and virtual broadcasts. Given the purple tier requirements, they may have to go completely virtual once more.

“The biggest loss is that ability to be together, to build camaraderie and faith together, as Christ came together and he taught people,” Carter said. “Even though we may not get a chance to do that as a group, we can still do that individually with our own individual faith.”

Meanwhile at Riverlakes Church, only small groups had moved indoors in the red tier while Sunday services were still held outdoors. Frazier points out as the weather changes, they may need to revisit that method.

"The environment is changing, and it’s probably difficult for some, and uncomfortable for others, but the word is still getting out there,” Frazier said.

23ABC asked both religious leaders about the lawsuit recently filed by a catholic priest against Governor Gavin Newsom and local officials for state restrictions. Both commented that as long as the state does not hinder a person’s right to worship, then they are willing to comply with guidelines and restrictions.