Pastor associated with superspreader wedding in Maine asked to wear masks at son’s wedding

A Maine clergyman who presided over a married-superspreader event that has been linked to at least eight Kovid-19 deaths and more than a hundred transitions will attend another wedding next month – his son.

The son of the Rev. Todd Bell is tying the knot on October 17 at the state line at the South Church of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the church confirmed.

And if Bell refuses to wear a mask at this ceremony, he may get the boot.

“I hope Pastor Bell will wear a mask,” church official Jennifer Leyden told The Main Monitor. “It is an incredibly difficult thing to ask someone of faith to leave. But unfortunately, I have to be a hard-ass. If you have not worn a mask, you are not coming in. “

Todd Bell, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford, Maine, is shown on January 19, 2017 in Alfred, Maine.Tammy Wells / Portland Press Herald via AP File

South Church Kovid-19 is taking the kind of safety precautions that Bell has given at his evangelical church, Baptist Church of Sanford, Cal., Maine.

A “family minister” who did not identify Leyden will perform the ceremony and is expected to attend just 50 people in a 20-minute wedding at the historic sanctuary designed to hold 525 people.

It would be an “in-and-out service” without a choir, Leyden said.

In other Kovid-19 developments:

  • The NFL has postponed Sunday’s competition between the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers after several Titans players tested positive for coronovirus. The Titans players tested positive just two days after the team defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis.
  • Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said the indoor performance venues that would resume next week would be closed and all outdoor venues would continue to operate at 25 percent capacity after the city’s seven-day average positivity rate increases.
  • School officials said Tuesday that a 19-year-old college student at Appalachian State University in North Carolina died Monday night from Kovid-19 complications. University officials said in a statement, Chad was living on the Doril Campus and taking all of his classes online, when he developed flu-like symptoms earlier this month.
  • There was mourning in Magic Kingdom as the Walt Disney Company announced it was laying off 28,000 workers.
  • More and more people were starving in Puerto Rico as a result of the epidemic. And the $ 900 million that Congress approved this year to fund a food stamp program, which spends nearly half of the island’s population.
  • Texas has now passed California as one of the states with the most Kovid-19 deaths, with 15,988 and New Jersey had, with 16,117, NBC News figures. New York is still the highest with 33,990. Texas experienced an explosion of new cases and deaths in the spring when it reopened at the insistence of President Donald Trump, such as Kovid-19 hitting the South and Sun Belt.

The Bell reception took place later that day in the hall in Great Falls, a nearby town, New Hampshire.

“I’d be more concerned about reception than sitting in a church with a mask for 15 to 20 minutes,” Leyden said.

Following an inquiry by NBC News, the church released another statement on Wednesday stating that Church Bell is taking extra precautions for marriages and families are cooperating.

“The rental party is receptive and cooperative about the church and their wedding party and efforts to protect the safety and wellbeing of guests on this special day in their lives,” it said.

Bell, who could not be reached for comment, started taking flax after getting married on August 7 at the Big Moose Inn in Millinckett, Maine, after which, 10 congregants, including his father, tested positive for Kovid-19 .

It quickly spread throughout the state, with more than 180 people infected, including several inmates at the York County Jail. Most of the eight who died were elderly residents at a retirement and rehabilitation center in Madison, Maine.

Todd claimed online and on social media that he and his family were receiving death threats.

But even when the Maine Office of the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked the Kovid-19 cases to marriage, a defective Bell continued services where little or no social disturbance occurred and to trust God Urged his flock. Government.

And although he is not a doctor, Bell said in a sermon that Kovid-19 is trying to keep a “mosquito chain-link out of the fence” by wearing a mask to prevent the spread.

Bell continues to defy Maine County regulations, even though he is based in York County, a coronovirus hot spot with 44 percent of new cases in the state.

Since the onset of the epidemic, Maine has reported 141 deaths and 5,337 infections, according to the latest NBC News data.

While Sanford City Council has fined residents $ 100 for wearing masks, Bell has refused to enforce the rules and there is nothing in the city as he operates a church and a private school, Sanford Christian Academy Does.

“There’s not really any good conversation with them right now,” Sanford City Counselor Maurya Herali said in an interview with local media. “He wants to do what he wants on his pulpit, and he has chosen his line in the sand.”

Bell is not the only religious leader locked in the church-versus-state struggle to react to the coronovirus crisis. Several churches in other states have filed lawsuits claiming that government-imposed restrictions to prevent people from getting sick were violations of religious freedom.

Grace Community Church in Los Angeles is the best example, serving in indoor ceremonies for weeks in defiance of state and local boundaries.

And there is River at Tampa Bay Church in Florida, whose minister was arrested during a pandemic in March for banning Hillsborough County’s mass ceremonies.

For more than a month after the presidential election, President Donald Trump is still struggling to stop the spread of a virus that claimed the lives of 207,265 people in the US and more than 7.2 million people as of Wednesday morning Infected, NBC News data showed.

While Trump continues to claim success in fighting the epidemic, the US now accounts for more than one million Kovid-19 deaths and one-fifth of the world’s 33.7 million confirmed coronovirus cases, according to Johns Hopkins University Kovid . -19 Dashboard.

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