By Associated Press - Thursday, September 17, 2020

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - The pastor of a San Francisco Bay Area church that racked $112,000 in fines for defying the local public health order by holding indoor services has begun holding services in the church parking lot.

Pastor Jack Trieber of the 3,000-seat North Valley Baptist Church in Santa Clara said he will hold services outdoors until health officials give the green light to indoor services, KGO-TV reported Wednesday.

County officials told the television station there were no plans to forgive the fines but that the county’s enforcement action was over because the church was complying.

Trieber told his congregation that he had senators contact him, saying they had provided President Trump with the pastor’s personal cell phone number, asking if he would take a call from the White House. He said he did not pursue connecting with the president because he chose to obey the county’s directives.

Trieber also said he was prepared to unleash a flood of one million emails from supporters to local government offices, but decided against that avenue.

In an outdoor sermon Wednesday evening, he told the congregation sitting in their cars, “I don’t wish anything evil to happen with authorities.”

“Tonight was the right decision to move out here.”

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