A local pastor who ministers to the homeless community in Los Angeles has urged Bethel worship leader Sean Feucht to cancel an event due to be held amongst the homeless community.
Feucht, who has been holding large outdoor worship and events throughout the pandemic, faced staunch opposition after attempting to host his outreach event in the notorious Skid Row area of the city. Police were called to quell any potential violence after a number of protesters showed up at the event, blocking Feucht's followers from entering the area. People could be heard chanting “No mask, go home” and “You don’t look like Jesus. You came here to kill us".
In response, Feucht reportedly moved the event to another location nearby.
Stephen “Cue” Jn-Marie, pastor of skid row’s Church Without Walls, was one of the organisers of the blockade. He said that they will now be moving their protest to outside the home of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti after he failed to ensure the event did not go ahead.
"They should have shut down this,” Jn-Marie said. “I’m angry.”
Another local community leader, Pete White, also voiced his opposition to the gathering. “You cannot bring a superspreader event into a community as vulnerable as Skid Row and think people won’t show up," he said, as reported by the LA Times. "Even when the city has refused to stop the event, the people will.”
LA Councilman Kevin de León said that personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitation kits had been issued to the homeless community on Wednesday in a bid to protect them from the virus.
"Our expectation is that those attending the scheduled outreach event take steps to care for our community and protect vulnerable Angelenos on Skid Row by wearing masks and honouring social distancing guidelines," he added in a statement.
Feucht has other events planned for this week in LA, including an outreach at a homeless tent city in Echo Park on Thursday and a concert in the evening at a church parking lot in Valencia. Many of those attending Feucht's events do not wear masks, nor practice appropriate social distancing.
The events come as California extends its regional stay-at-home order due to an ascending rate of Covid-19 infections and hospitals being at full capacity.
One of Feucht's associates, Charles Karuku, said that while they encourage followers to follow current guidelines, they cannot control how people individually interpret the rules.
"It’s up to the people how they choose to come," he said. "But we are not law enforcement."