A Georgia megachurch pastor has tested positive for the coronavirus, his fellow pastor announced on Sunday.
Pastor Jentezen Franklin “is doing perfectly fine. He’s doing great,” pastor Javon Ruff said during a livestreamed service at Free Chapel in Gainesville. “He went and got tested, his test came back positive, and so he’s doing the right thing to do to quarantine and continue to be distant.”
Tracy Page, a spokesperson for the church, told McClatchy News that Franklin was exposed to an “associate of the congregation” Thursday who later tested positive. Page added that the pastor is experiencing mild symptoms and is self-isolating, according to the Macon Telegraph.
Ruff added in a statement that the church will hold its Christmas Eve candlelight service online. The church previously began outdoor services in August and moved them indoors the next month, the newspaper said.
“Due to the rise in Covid-19 cases in our area, Free Chapel will be moving their East Coast 5pm candlelight services to an online digital experience that can be viewed on freechapel.org,” the church said in a statement.
Franklin attended a White House Christmas party with his daughter last week, before he is believed to have come in contact with the infected person. He also attended a Rose Garden ceremony in September for the nomination of Justice Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettNew Hampshire state representative leaves GOP over opposition to vaccine mandate Barrett: Supreme Court 'not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks' To infinity and beyond: What will it take to create a diverse and representative judiciary? MORE to the Supreme Court, an event that was later traced to several infections, including that of President TrumpDonald TrumpCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Netanyahu suggests Biden fell asleep in meeting with Israeli PM Aides try to keep Biden away from unscripted events or long interviews, book claims MORE and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpFormer aide sees Melania Trump as 'the doomed French queen': book If another 9/11 happened in a divided 2021, could national unity be achieved again? Former Trump aide Stephanie Grisham planning book: report MORE.
The president has defended the White House parties, telling reporters, “I see a lot of people at the parties wearing masks. I mean, I would say that I look out at the audience at those parties, and we have a lot of people wearing masks, and I think that’s a good thing.”