CENTRAL, La. (FOX 44) (LOCAL 33) The Life Tabernacle Church in Central hosted 1,825 people at their March 22 Sunday service.
Despite government mandated “stay at home orders” Pastor Spell says it is crucial the church stays open.
The interview above was conducted by Fox 44/Local 33’s Abbi Rocha after Spell’s Tuesday night service on March 17th.
Why are you continuing to stay open?
TS: “We continue to stay open we have our doors open as a church as a right to assemble. We reserve the right to worship God. We take all the necessary precautions of disinfecting our building, keeping people at a distance. These are our religious convictions and this is why we continue to operate as a church.”
After last night (March 18, 2020) there were 100 people in the same room many people consider that to be irresponsible, what is your response to that?
TS: “Is it any more irresponsible than people going to costco where there’s a thousand people? Or walmart where there’s a thousand people? I’m not posing any more of a threat than the people who are at the mall right now. Or any place of business. It seems to me the church is being persecuted because we are an easier target than those major companies who are keeping their lights on and still operating. We operate strictly by tithing and offering, support of our parishioners. We do not have the luxury of businesses who can operate by any other means of sales. If we don’t keep our lights on we are not operating financially.”
Tell me about the faith and beliefs of your church?
TS: “So as a church we are apostolic in doctrine, Pentecostal in spirits. So Pentecostal is known for lively worship, lively preaching prophesying, laying hands on the sick, people receiving healings in miracles. We are Pentecostal in our experience. We are apostolic in our doctrine, and we are a basic new testament church. We are the first new testament church from the book of acts. We are also christian in faith, we relate more with people.”
How does your faith apply to this virus and what’s going on right now?
TS: “To the virus, like any other virus, influenza, human immunodeficiency virus, We are not going to live in fear. We are not going to seclude ourselves or go into reclusivity. Right now the majority of my church have been sent home for 30 days. Restaurants have closed, waiters and waitresses don’t have an income and are living in fear and torment right now because they don’t know how they are going to make ends meet. We are the last strong hold in society that’s giving some sanity to the insanity that’s around us. So that’s where we stand on that issue. We are in hospital, we pray for people that are sick, we go into hospitals, psychiatric wards on a daily basis, praying for people, laying hands on people, that’s what the church’s mission is in this time of peril.”
The police and National Guard have threatened to stop your services, what is your response to that?
TS: “The police did come to my service last night, he did not come into my service, an usher summoned me outside to talk to him. He was kind, he was respectful as we were to him, he was doing his job, we were doing our job, he said the National Guard would be deployed to break up groups of 50 or more. That was as of up to an hour ago, I receieved a call from the Governor’s Office and the National Guard, a representative who said that is not their job. To cause panic with our parishioners, they will not disperse groups of 50 or more. There’s more to be said on that subject but that is the truth. That was the news up until about an hour ago. But we received assurance that we are not being persecuted for gathering and the National Guard would not be deployed to us to break up our gathering. That may have been the case last night, but not today.”
Do you believe the virus is politically motivated?
TS: “It’s a real virus. People are dying with the virus. People are dying with influenza. People are dying with cancer every day, all that is real. We don’t go into hiding because people have cancer. We don’t go into hiding because people have influenza. Which is probably more contagious than covid-19 which has been around longer than the past three weeks, whenever it has been politicized, so that was my statement. It shouldn’t be taken out of context that it isn’t real. It is real, but we pray for people that have the virus. Annoint them will oil, pray for them we believe in God to give them recovery, and healing. That’s the churches mission. That’s our purpose in the Earth to give calm, where there is no calm and be overcomers when there is no overcome.”
No matter what happens in the coming week, will you still hold services as normal?
TS: “We are going to continue to have services, our doors are open, we take the necessary precautions of disinfecting, If you don’t want to come to church, you don’t have to come. We are not mandating anybody, Everybody that’s here is here on their own free will. They know the risks, there’s a society that is up in arms, they are out of school right now, there’s nobody feeding their children. They are not being educated. That’s unrest. They’re losing their jobs. They have no income. Nobody can sustain that for a 30 day period. There may be a stimulus package i’ve heard that’s going to be sent out to those people. The church doesn’t get stimulus packages, We are 501C3, Federal exempt. We operate strictly on our own accord with no help from the goverment. So we have to keep our lights on. We have to keep finances coming in.”
Is there anything else you would like to add?
TS: “I want to let our law enforcement know that we are praying for them. Our government officials know that we are praying for them, we are behind them 100 percent. We are not going to crater to any spirits of fear, or torment.”