North Sound church appears to violate COVID-19 restrictions

VIDEO: Church under fire for allegedly not following health guidelines

A North Sound megachurch may be violating the governor’s COVID-19 restrictions.

The House Ministry Center in Snohomish County posts videos of its Sunday services on social media.

And no one appears to be wearing masks, including those who are singing.

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All of these outraged an area resident, concerned that the churchgoers might be spreading more than the gospel.

He was asked why he cared so much?

“I want this COVID thing to end,” said Joe Givler, a Snohomish resident for just 14 months. “It’s gone on long enough. And people need to be responsible.”

That is what he said motivated him to walk into the House Ministry Center in Snohomish on Sunday morning to confirm what he suspected: Worshippers there were not following the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.

“There was only one person that I saw while I was there that was wearing a mask,” said Givler. “And that was me.”

The video the church posted on its Facebook page bears that out. There were no face coverings and no social distancing. There was also singing, all of which is prohibited in the fight against the coronavirus.

“We don’t do music here live,” said Rev. Joe Kim, pastor of the state’s largest United Methodist church.

Kim said he has been holding completely virtual Sunday services since the restrictions were imposed last March, including church meetings during the week.

“All online,” Kim said. “And we find that people are yearning for and craving for that connection. And despite being physically apart, we got to believe that God’s love is connecting us even through that barrier.”

The video the House Ministry Center posted shows that is not happening there.

Givler said he hopes that by speaking out, he will help force the church to change for his hometown’s sake.

“And this is a small town,” said Givler. “So these people are the people I run into at the grocery stores. The people I run into elsewhere. I don’t want it. They don’t want it. But please help stop it.”

Givler said he immediately filed a complaint with the state against the church.

No one from the church responded to telephone calls and emails for comments.