A church in Cleveland, TN received flak for hosting a winter conference where hundreds of attendees were without masks and gathered closely.
In the last few weeks of 2020, two dozen people in Bradley County, Ohio died from COVID-19, according to the county’s health department.
George Douglas was one of the hundreds who rang in the new year at the Ramp Church of OCI in Cleveland.
Douglas told Channel 3 although he is not a member, he travels to churches all over town and “spreads the word of God.”
“I’m going to serve the Lord at all times,” Douglas said.
Douglas posted a video on Facebook where a large crowd of people can be seen worshiping in the mega sanctuary but without masks or social distancing.
Happy New Year! We’re believing this is going to be the best year yet – the greatest year of growing in your faith,…Posted by The Ramp on Thursday, December 31, 2020
Videos on the church’s social media also showed a packed house three days in a row.
A similar conference took place at the ministry’s Chattanooga location.
The video quickly became a target for scrutiny on social media.
Some on Facebook called the event a “super spreader” of the virus and others quoted scripture defending their faith, others took to TikTok.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s executive order limits indoor public gatherings to 10 people, but worship services are excluded and only encouraged to “utilize virtual services and follow safety protocols.”
Douglas believes people who get COVID-19 or any other sickness should lean on the church for healing.
“The word lets me know that those that are sick to come to the church and let the elders lay hands on them and pray for them and the sick will be healed,” Douglas continued.
Channel 3 made contact with the church but did not get a comment as of Friday.
The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office who secured the event and the county mayor was also sent inquires but to no avail.
The Ramp at OCI plans to host a men’s conference at the end of January.
This is the Chattanooga, Tennessee church: