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World News

Popular megachurch pastor tests positive for Covid-19

by Will Maule

Prominent megachurch pastor Jentezen Franklin has tested positive for Covid-19 just days after attending a Christmas party at the White House. Franklin, the pastor of Free Chapel church in Gainsville, Georgia, was absent from the service on Sunday after contracting the virus, according to associate pastor, Javon Ruff.

“We want to make you aware that pastor Franklin has come in contact with Covid, but he is doing perfectly fine," Ruff explained to the congregation. "He actually is doing great. He went and got tested and his test came back positive so he is doing the right thing to do and staying quarantined and continuing to be distanced." 

Ruff added that the church will "continue to pray and lift him up". 

Last week, Jentezen posted several photos and videos of his trip to a Christmas party at the White House, noting that he was personally invited by President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. While most people appeared to be wearing masks, Jentzen and his daughter were pictured without them.

Jentezen Franklin at the White House with his daughter. Source: Instagram

According to a church spokesperson, there is no evidence to suggest that Franklin caught Covid-19 at the party. In fact, the spokesperson suggested that Franklin had caught the virus from an infected congregant. 

"Pastor Jentezen Franklin's visit to White House had no correlation with his diagnosis," they said. "He was exposed to an associate of the congregation in the metro on Thursday who turned out to be infected." 

In light of the infection, Pastor Ruff said that the church's Christmas Eve service will now be held virtually "out of an abundance of caution". About 100 people were in attendance at the Free Chapel service at the weekend.

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