Virginia Drops Charges Against Pastor Who Held In-Person Service on Palm Sunday

Pastor Kevin Wilson of the Ligthouse Fellowship Church in Chincoteague Island, Virginia, faced a $2,500 fine and jail time for holding a Palm Sunday service in defiance of state lockdown orders. Wilson is pictured with his wife Nicki from an image posted on Facebook

A Virginia pastor who was threatened with criminal punishment for holding an in-person worship service on Palm Sunday has had charges against him dropped.

Pastor Kevin Wilson of Lighthouse Fellowship Church on Chincoteague Island was cited by officials for holding a worship service on April 5 that had 16 people in attendance.

At the time, the Commonwealth restricted in-person worship services to no more than 10 people, with the pastor facing up to a year in jail and a fine of as much as $2,500.

However, an order was issued last week in the General District Court for the County of Accomack that officially ended further prosecution of the pastor over the service.

“We are pleased these charges have now been dropped as we continue to uphold the church’s First Amendment right to exist and freely assemble,” Mat Staver, founder and chairman of the Liberty Counsel, which was representing Wilson, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Governor Ralph Northam has clearly discriminated against Lighthouse Fellowship Church and these criminal charges reflect his blatant unconstitutional actions against Pastor Wilson.”

Earlier this year, states issued varying restrictions on in-person gatherings, including houses of worship, to help curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski