TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa pastor who was arrested Monday after Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said he held a packed service despite Hillsborough County's "safer-at-home" order now says he will not hold services this Sunday.
Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne made the announcement that The River at Tampa Bay would not hold services at the church on Facebook Live Wednesday night.
Howard-Browne said there would still be a broadcasted service.
Howard-Browne was arrested Monday and charged with unlawful assembly and violation of public health emergency rules. He has since bonded out of jail.
Howard-Browne said he wasn't closing the doors to the church because of what Sheriff Chronister has said, but because God told him to.
A post written on Revival Ministries International's website on March 22 outlines the ministry's belief that churches should be deemed essential. Several days before that, a press statement said "the Church is another one of those essential services. It is a place where people turn for help and for comfort in a climate of fear and uncertainty."
The "safer-at-home" order was passed in Hillsborough County on March 27, and religious organizations were not been given an "essential" designation under the order.
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