Adams Square Baptist Church Holds Fourth In-Person Church Service In Three Weeks

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On Sunday, Pastor Kris Casey did exactly what he has done the past two Sundays and this past Wednesday:  hold a church service for more than 10 people.

This one drew the biggest crowd.

Several dozen attendees gathered at Adams Square Baptist Church in Worcester, and followed all the same precautions in place as last week:  non-relatives had to sit at least six feet apart, masks and gloves were mandatory, temperature checks took place at the door, and the church underwent a professional cleaning before the service. Additionally, there was no collection this Sunday or last Sunday. 

Before the service, Pastor Casey told the attendees he was grateful for those who attended. During it, he said that he knew of people that have wanted to come to the service over the past few weeks, but were nervous to — because of a police presence or otherwise. This Sunday, there was no police presence in the area, but there was last week. 

“I get it,” Casey said. “I’m not mad. I’m sad that it happened to you, but I’m thankful. I’m thankful that the same liberty you have not to come to church is the same liberty somebody has if they want to go to church. The moment we lose that, we lose all of our liberty. We have to stand up for what we want and what we have, otherwise we’ll lose it. So let’s stand up for the cause of Christ. It’s not a political rally. It’s not a Second Amendment rally. It’s not a ‘we support the police’ rally. It’s ‘I want to rally behind Jesus Christ and do what he wants me to do and keep going forward.’ ”

Pastor Casey started the service off with Psalm 118, largely focused on giving thanks to God and finding strength in him.

The pastor addressed the coronavirus emergency and the continuing situation with his church. He told the church attendees that at that moment, he was not focused on what was going on in the outside world or what could happen in the near future, but rather on doing his job as a pastor and preaching the word of God.

He also asked the attendees to make sure that they keep this same passion for attending church –wherever that may be — once the pandemic is over.

“Don’t let the excitement keep you here,” he said. “Let the Holy Spirit’s presence keep you here.” 

At the end of the service, Pastor Casey baptized a woman in her early 20s. In the press conference following the service, he noted that it’s not something he could do over Zoom.

When speaking with reporters, Pastor Casey said he is standing up for the First Amendment — which also protects freedom of the press. 

“If I don’t have church, you don’t have the right to report the news,” he said. “Under the same amendment, I’m preaching and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. If they take my rights away, it’s only a matter of time before they take your rights away. I’m actually standing up for you whether or not you agree with it.”

Pastor Casey has been punished for holding the church services, which go against Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s executive order of March 23 that limits most gatherings to 10 people or less.

Casey  got a citation from the Worcester police with a $300 civil penalty for his service last Sunday. For the service this past Wednesday, Worcester’s city manager has said that Worcester police have applied for a criminal application and a fine of $500 against the church — although Casey clarified on Sunday that he has not yet received official notice of the fine.

This past Thursday a federal judge ordered that gun shops be allowed to reopen (with some restrictions) on Saturday because the right to keep and bear arms is explicitly protected by the Second Amendment of the federal constitution and state officials failed, in the judge’s view, to show a compelling reason for shutting them down.

New Boston Post asked Pastor Casey if he sees the court ruling on gun shops as a positive sign for his religious-freedom argument under the First Amendment against the governor’s limit on churches.

“Absolutely,” he said. “How could you give confidence to one and not accept the other? It’s illogical for the governor to say what he’s doing. In fact, that’s why I think they didn’t come to me on Thursday or Friday. I stood right here on these steps all day long: 8:30 in the morning to 5:00 at night and said, ‘Where’s my ticket? Where’s my fine?’ Not flippantly. Not bombastically. Where is it? There’s no law that says they can do what they’re doing, and I’m going to stand here and wait for them to bring it to me — and they never brought it.”

Arlington resident Verna Khantzian, who attended the service on Sunday, told New Boston Post she supports Pastor Casey. She said that attending the service was important to exercise her religious liberty.

“I came to honor God, the Constitution, my country, and the church,” she said. “The First Amendment means we have the right to worship wherever that is. If we can go into grocery stores and other ‘essential stores’ and places, we should be able to, if we take the same precautions, go into churches and have that freedom to worship.”

A woman wearing a baseball cap making a reference to George Orwell’s novel 1984 holds a sign supporting Pastor Kris Casey outside Adams Square Baptist Church in Worcester, Massachusetts on Sunday, May 10, 2020. Photo by Tom Joyce for New Boston Post.


Reporters and cameramen gather outside Adams Square Baptist Church in Worcester, Massachusetts on Sunday, May 10. Photo by Tom Joyce for New Boston Post.