Georgia megachurch pastor tests positive for COVID-19


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,” 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 Barrett to the Supreme Court, an event that was later traced to several infections, including that of President Trump and first lady Melania Trump.

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.”

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