STATESBORO — The Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office has been keeping close watch on the Redeeming Love Church of God the Bibleway after an investigation revealed they were in violation of Governor Brian Kemp’s shelter-in-place order.
In a statement posted to Facebook on Friday, April 9, the sheriff’s office addressed the matter.
“The Sheriff would like the public to know that as a part of the state’s executive order, churches may hold services with more than 10 people, so long as the congregation maintains and observes social distancing,” a press release stated. “Although, the Department of Public Health strongly discourages these types of gathering.”
After reports of the church having congregations exceeding ten people, Georgia State Patrol and Bulloch County deputies investigated the church on April 5, finding more than thirty people in congregation.
The attendees were asked to leave the building, but responded numerous times that they planned to finish the service first. Troopers issued the pastor and three others, reportedly members of the church’s governing body, citations for reckless conduct, and warned of Kemp’s order.
The church also gathered for their Wednesday night service on April 8, but remained the required six-feet apart.
In videos posted to the church’s Facebook page, members also gathered on Easter Sunday and looked as though they were keeping their distance from one another during the service. After the service, images and videos were posted of members not keeping their distance from one another and some being baptized.
As of now, no further action has been made on the church beyond the citations issued, but the Sheriff’s Office plans to continue to monitor the situation, and will seek guidance from the offices of the District Attorney, Solicitor, Attorney General, Department of Public Health, and the Governor should any more violations occur.
Davis Cobb, The George-Anne News Reporter, email@example.com
Sarah Smith contributed to this article.