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CdA church that resisted Idaho stay-home order suspends in-person services

Pastor Tim Remington, shown Saturday, March 5, 2016, had resisted ending in-person services at The Altar church in Coeur d’Alene but the church reversed course on Thursday. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

The Coeur d’Alene church that resisted Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s stay-home order by continuing to hold in-person services said that won’t be the case this Sunday.

“Although we continue to have grave concerns regarding the suspension of our First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble without a legislative debate or vote, we decided to ensure all use of our church building would be in compliance with the order against gathering of individuals outside the home,” The Altar church wrote in a Facebook post Thursday afternoon. “We continue to recognize this virus is a very real threat to the health and safety of our local community, state and nation.”

The church’s board decided Wednesday that senior pastor and state Rep. Tim Remington – who had called the response to the COVID-19 pandemic “a gimmick” and “a test” during one of two services last Sunday which had about 120 in-person attendees total – will deliver his sermon online this weekend, according to the Facebook post.

The church said in its statement it had encouraged people to watch from home if possible, but it had planned to hold in-person services this Sunday, according to a Facebook post that has since been deleted. A statement on the church’s website that said the church planned to hold in-person services this Sunday also is no longer visible.

“It was certainly never our intent to create such controversy in our community,” the church wrote in its statement. “The heart of our church has been, and always will be, to be available with hope and help in the direst of circumstances.”