Pastor of Chicago Megachurch Tells Staff to Keep an Outbreak of COVID-19 Among Pastors & Staff Secret

By Julie Roys

The lead pastor of Calvary Church of Naperville—a megachurch in the Chicago suburbs with an attendance around 6,000— this week told his staff to keep secret news that an assistant pastor had tested positive for COVID-19. Calvary Lead Pastor Martyn Sloan also instructed his staff not to tell anyone that the assistant pastor’s wife and son, who’s also a pastor at the church, were having symptoms.

This is according to two emails leaked to me earlier this week by a staff member who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of losing his job.

Also, despite knowing that staff and volunteers had been exposed to the sick pastor and family members who live with him, Pastor Sloan continued to record online services with multiple staff, the sick pastor’s family members, and volunteers.

Pastor Martyn Sloan

Pastor Sloan has since informed his church about the pastor with COVID-19, as well as another staff member who tested positive for coronavirus. However, Sloan did this only after I emailed him the leaked emails and pressed him about why he had not informed his church about the confirmed cases.

The pastor at Calvary who tested positive for COVID-19 is Pastor Angel Escamilla, assistant pastor of Calvary Español. Also showing symptoms is his wife, Becky Escamilla, and son, Michael Escamilla, an associate pastor at Calvary.

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The staff member with COVID-19 is a videographer who was required to attend recording sessions with the Escamillas and dozens of others.

On Tuesday of this week, church staff received an email from the Escamilla family, informing them that Angel Escamilla had tested positive for COVID-19 and pneumonia and was “seriously ill.” The email also said that Becky and Michael Escamilla “have had symptoms but are improving.”

The email added, “For our privacy and for the peace of mind of our church family, we and the leadership team ask that this news be kept in confidence within our staff.”

“(W)e and the leadership team ask that this news be kept in confidence within our staff.”

On Tuesday evening, Sloan sent a follow-up email to church staff through his executive assistant, Becky Lopez. In it, Sloan said, “If pressed for information (about the Escamillas’ health) you should confidently reply with the following: ‘Please understand that if I knew anything about anyone’s medical condition I would not be at liberty to speak’ and then stop talking.”

Recordings Continue Despite Known Exposure to Sick Pastors & Family

According to the anonymous staff member, Pastor Sloan first knew that Angel Escamilla was sick on March 15. Yet for nine days, Sloan continued recording and livestreaming services with members of Escamilla’s family and those who had been exposed to the Escamillas, both staff and volunteers.

Even on Tuesday evening, after learning that Angel Escamilla had tested positive for COVID-19 and that his son and wife were sick, Sloan required staff who had been in recent contact with the Escamillas to record a service, which included a volunteer.

I asked Sloan specifically about these charges in an email I sent to him at 12:50 p.m. on Friday. This was in response to an email from Sloan’s assistant, saying that Sloan would respond to emailed questions.

Sloan still has not responded to my questions. However, at 2:26 p.m. on Friday, Sloan sent an email to the congregation, informing them for the first time that Angel Escamilla and another staff member had tested positive for COVID-19. 

According to the anonymous staff member, Angel Escamilla had attended Calvary’s weekend service on March 15, which was livestreamed online and included all staff pastors, several support staff, volunteers, and several church attenders. The staff member said Angel Escamilla left during the 9 a.m. service because he felt sick, but not before coming into close contact with about 10 pastors.

The staff member said that on March 17, Pastor Sloan required several staff to attend a recording session of a prayer service with Michael Escamilla and his wife, Lynelle Escamilla, who both live with Angel and Becky Escamilla. The staff member said that when several staff objected due to concerns about infection, Sloan asked them if they wanted to remain “essential,” because if not, that could change.

The staff member said that when several staff objected due to concerns about infection, Sloan asked them if they wanted to remain “essential,” because if not, that could change.

The videographer who taped the March 17 recording has now tested positive for COVID-19.

The service, which was posted online, also included about a dozen volunteers. (The anonymous staff member said that when the church failed to inform the volunteers of their likely exposure to someone with coronavirus, some staff told them.)

Band at March 17 service where Michael Escamilla preached

Recordings continued on March 21, 22, and 23 with various staff members and a volunteer percussionist.

On the evening of March 24, hours after learning about Angel Escamilla’s positive test result, the church recorded another online service. On the recording are three pastors who were present at the March 17 recording session with Michael and Lynelle Escamilla, as well as the volunteer percussionist. Also on the recording is Pastor Sloan, who, according to the volunteer, videotaped his sermon just prior to the service.

On March 25, Pastor Sloan, apparently undaunted by news of his sick pastors and other staff, posted a video to Facebook. In it, he announces that weekend services will livestream as before at 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Pastor Sloan Appears Lighthearted; Flies to Florida

Though Pastor Sloan had contact with the Escamillas, and others recently exposed to the Escamillas, Sloan and his son, Landon Sloan, took a flight to Tampa International Airport on March 25. The two then took a “transport” to Southeastern University, where they packed up everything in Landon’s dorm and drove home.

This is revealed in a Facebook live video Sloan posted on March 26 while driving back from Florida with his son Landon Sloan. In the video, Sloan appears lighthearted and jokingly asks for prayer because he’s having to endure listening to country music.

Sloan on FB Live

The video is one of several Facebook live videos Sloan posted on the 26th. I asked Sloan about the appropriateness of the videos in the email I sent on Friday, March 27.  All the Facebook live videos were deleted soon afterwards.

My first email to Sloan was on Thursday evening at 6:38 p.m. This email included the leaked emails about keeping the news about Angel Escamilla’s COVID-19 diagnosis quiet, and requested a call back. Sloan did not answer the email.

However, at 6:53 p.m., Sloan sent an email to “All Staff” through his assistant Becky Lopez, telling staff not to visit the church campus next week. Sloan added, “The care and concern for you and your family is a high priority.”

On Friday, March 27, at 9:19 a.m., I sent Sloan another email with additional questions. I also informed Sloan that I was aware that a videographer had recently tested positive for COVID-19.

At 11:45 a.m. on Friday, Sarah Dawes, associate executive director of communications at Calvary, sent an email to 33 church staff members, informing them that the videographer had tested positive for COVID-19. She added, “You are on this email because (videographer) traced his steps to a point of contact with you in the week prior to his symptoms.”

On Friday evening, Pastor Sloan posted a video to Facebook, urging church to pray for Angel Escamilla’s healing.

Today around noon, Calvary posted a FB message, encouraging people to tune in for weekend services online, noting that Pastor Sloan will be preaching on the book of Psalms.

UPDATE: On Monday, March 30, Pastor Angel Escamilla, who was 68, went to be with the Lord. On Facebook, Calvary Español posted: “Our Pastor Angel fought the good battle and his career is over. Today he was greeted in heaven ‘Well done good and faithful servant Enter into the presence of your Lord…’ Angel has passed into eternity, and is where we all want to be one day… in the eternal presence with God.”

UPDATE 2: Received this email from Kevin Sur, external affairs officer for Dupage Co. Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management , on April 1 at 5:28 p.m.: “The DuPage County Health Department Medical Officer Dr. Rashmi Chugh has attempted to reach the Calvary Church of Naperville but has not heard back from them.  At this time, we are still reaching out to them.”

UPDATE 3: Calvary Naperville now is requiring staff, contractors, and volunteers to sign a waiver, releasing the church of responsibility if they get sick or die. To read new story, click here.

Below are the emails sent to Calvary Naperville staff on Tuesday:

Below is the email Pastor Sloan sent to his congregation about 90 minutes after my email. Included was an excerpt of the email from the Escamilla Family:

 

 

 

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168 thoughts on “Pastor of Chicago Megachurch Tells Staff to Keep an Outbreak of COVID-19 Among Pastors & Staff Secret”

  1. AMEN!! I am waiting to hear what Pastor Marty’s side of this is as this seems to be a biased and inflammatory article. Julie, you have not handled this in a proper Biblical manner! Shame on you!!

    1. Elfie, You do not seem to understand what is the “proper Biblical Manner.” Martyn had the opportunity to respond and he did not. Julie’s article is factual and researched. Why are you really upset? I would understand if you are a member to that church but the truth is not an object we can embrace one moment and claim its “biased and inflammatory” the next moment. Accept the truth.

    2. Elfie
      I bet you have told people about your church. I bet your pastor wants people to attend and makes public statements about it. When you are in the public eye or when you tell others they should come to your church, you must also accept that your actions will be questioned on a public level. Being a light on the hill means you don’t get to tell people what they see when they look at you. I’m looking and I think this looks really bad.

  2. It is so sad to see people who call themselves Christians defend a pastor who is reckless with the life of other people, even with the life of the persons that are under his “care”. The investigation done by Julie was right, it asked the right questions, but the refusal of the “pastor” to answer any of them, and his acting only after he was questioned by Julie, is another proof he is a wolf in sheep clothing! Anyone in a sound mind can see the dangerous implications of the actions of the “pastor”.

    In regard to the “worship” this institution (I cannot call it a Church) is providing, just look at the people of the team. One lady is showing every crease of her loins through the tight pants she wares! It is disgusting! Such people are leading in worship? Have the people in attendance lost all sense of shame and regard for decency in dressing? Why are they going there? Why are they silent when the rules of decency are disregarded by those who lead?

    To the one member who is defending the “pastor” I want to ask him if he would still do so if one of the members of his family would have contracted the virus and died because, the :pastor: although he knew one person in his staff was infected, still knowingly, deliberately continued to ask people to come and work with that infected person without making the slightest effort to warn them and protect them!

    Even the pastor who died is guilty of exposing others to the virus, and was doing it by continuing to come to work and not informing the people he worked with about his condition! Totally unchristian!
    Daniel Chiu

  3. “fI misjudgment was made, then it needs to be addressed in the church first.”
    Which would’ve never happened had Sloan not been contacted outside the church.

    1. To say that “this never would have been addressed” makes you all knowing. Are you claiming to know what Pastor Sloan would have done because of one article you have read?

      I am disheartened that those who claim to follow Christ are so quick to jump from concerns raised in this article to complete character assassination.

      I also take issue with those who feel they need to correct grammar or spelling errors. This is done in a demeaning tone. Please, let us treat each other with respect, as brothers and sisters in Christ.

      Julie, I have to take issue with your timing of this article. This was not the indepth investigation that you did regarding ongoing issues at Harvest or Willow Creek.

      1. Kurt Anderson

        Cheryl, I respectfully submit that you cannot compare Harvest/Willow reporting to this breaking health crisis. This is truly a day to day issue. Those in positions of leadership need to make immediate decisions based upon good information. Church attendees/staff/ volunteers were exposed to Covid-19 and it NEVER needed to happen. Julies email to the Pastor is very likely what prompted his response.

  4. Ms. Roys, you admit that no one at Calvary has responded to you and yet you chose to publish. No response never equates to evidence. Matters within the Church demands evidence. Your headline alone is inflammatory & your entire piece is fueled by assumptions and speculations without evidence from firsthand witnesses besides a single anonymous Calvary staffer who wants to maintain their anonymity to be able to keep their job under a supposed unrighteous pastor? Without additional witnesses, what proof do you have that this isn’t a case of one disgruntled staff member who has their own ax to grind?

    The words of Jesus in Matthew 18:15-17 are clear and concise. Jesus wasn’t talking in parable or figuratively.  The literalness and the spirit of Matthew 18:15-17 points to sinful issues between “brothers”. In other scriptures Jesus defines who “your brother” is. Perhaps a thorough study about who Jesus says is “your brother” would be enlightening.

    Whether you like it or not, per the Bible, Marty Sloan is first a brother in Christ until otherwise proven by two or more witnesses. Public action takes place only after every charge is established by two or more witnesses. Yes, we agree Sloan is held to a higher accountability as a pastor but Matthew 18:15-17 most certainly is the mandate for all brethren, even those who are held at a higher level of accountability. The command is not to be interpreted as an either/or mandate. The command is all inclusive because Christians are brethren in Christ, Christians are members of God’s family, Christians are the Church until proven otherwise with evidence. Period.

    Without evidence to prove that wrong doing was even committed, you singlehandedly chose to fast forward to public action and opened the forum for kangaroo court. Your piece has paved the way for other brethren to stumble and speak careless words. Who will take responsibility for this?

    Sensational reporting has no place in the Church, and during a national crisis nonetheless.  Attacking a new lead pastor who is responsible for a flock of 6000+ without indisputable evidence is irresponsible. The dated emails and your one anonymous informant were not at risk of changing. Yet, you chose to publish before you secured firsthand witnesses to confirm and collaborate. This is shoddy journalism. And in God’s family, your allegations has paved the way for discord among brethren in the Church. Fearsome.

    This reader expected more from you, Ms. Roys.

    Lord have mercy!

    1. There were obviously 2 people involved, the person who sent the emails and Ms Roy’s. And how did Calvary respond, did they head on like a warrior of Christ? Or did they not confront it at all and try and sweep it under the rug?

    2. Dia, Your use of Matthew 18 is incorrect. There is no “sin” issue, however, there is a lack of transparency by Martyn that negatively effected the health and safety of others. Most importantly, you have decided to publicly berate Julie for “sensational reporting,” “inflammatory headlines,” and “shoddy journalism.” Instead of lecturing Julie about her job or her motives, I advise you to read the article and read the truth. If you don’t like the truth then you need to figure out how to handle that issue. Don’t put the heat on Julie when you can’t handle the truth. You are your own kangaroo court.

      1. Mr. Anderson,

        “Sins” is synonymous to “trespass” as used in Matthew 18:15. Strong’s G264 translates in the following manner:
        1. to be without a share in
        2. to miss the mark
        3. to err, be mistaken
        4. to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour, to do or go wrong
        5. to wander from the law of God, violate’s God’s law, sin

        No misuse of Matthew 18:15-17 on my part.

        As far as your protectiveness of Ms. Roys, that is your prerogative. But her choice to publish a piece that alleges wrongdoing of a brother in Christ without the supporting evidence of two or more firsthand witnesses calls for scrutiny. This particular piece entitled “Pastor of Chicago Megachurch Tells Staff to Keep an Outbreak of COVID-19 Among Pastors & Staff Secret” and the contents therein is not above reproach!

        Buck up, Mr. Anderson. The truth always prevail, thanks be to God!

  5. “Sloan asked them if they wanted to remain ‘essential,’ because if not, that could change.”

    Issuing a veiled threat like that to people who are nervous about possibly becoming infected as, meanwhile, the nation is more and more social distancing and sheltering in place is egregious. How image- and agenda-driven that seems. My stomach is twisted after reading that.

  6. Employment Lawyer’s right. HIPAA does not apply to private employers unless they’re the type of private employer working in conjunction with a health care provider, such as providing off campus storage of records for them. This church is not covered by HIPAA.

  7. Sorry for the misunderstanding. That comment was not meant for Julie, it was meant for another who was mocking Christianity. I posted right under them in reply and the system glitched and threw it here. It keeps doing that to my posts. No idea why.

  8. M Wiggins, I read your clarification. Glad to know it was not directed at Julie. I read it as such and so I apologize for jumping on you like that. I understand your point now.

  9. Pastor Richard

    Julie, here’s what I don’t understand {and maybe it has already been addressed, as I have not read all the comments} but as a pastor, my primary moral and ethical obligation would be to defend, protect, and inform my congregation. If I were diagnosed with the virus, the first thing I would want to do would be to shout, loud and clear, that I was infected, as a warning to those I serve and as a heads-up to anyone who might have come into contact with me. It’s as simple as that.

    Don’t let the critics get you down. You are doing what everyone from this church should have done from the beginning.

  10. Secular Humanist

    Every crease of her loins?? Who talks like that? If you are incapable of not staring at women’s “loins” maybe the problem is your’s, not theirs. Didn’t your god supposedly make those loins in it’s own image in the first place? Grow up.

  11. Calvary Member, your response is full of emotions and assumptions. Julie’s article was fact-based and well written. I hope that you will re-examine the article and make a plan to deal with the truth. Writing such phrases as “work is from the devil and your intent is to harm” is utterly ridiculous. I fully understand how upsetting the Pastors failure is to you but don’t blame Julie for shedding light or you become part of the problem.

  12. Hi, Jeremy. To be clear, from the day of publication to this point, the anonymous tipper (assuming said person is a firsthand witness to the internal happenings at Calvary) is one (1) witness.

    Julie Roys has not claimed to be a firsthand witness and actually has postured herself to be acting on the allegations of this one anonymous tipper.

    Nothing is wrong with demanding Julie Roys to have followed both Biblical mandate & practice exemplary journalism by patiently waiting to publish after she had more firsthand witnesses to confirm and collaborate the allegations she has propagated by publishing.

    As a proclaimed Christian who is a public figure as a Christian journalist, it is her duty to dig deeper and exercise godly patience for indisputable evidence before publishing. With only circumstantial evidence, this particular piece should be scrutinized. Moreover, as Christians it is our duty to expect more.

    Without the testimony of two or more firsthand witnesses, Ms. Roys is merely sensational reporting. There is no room for sensationalism in the Church!

  13. misterjesperson

    Rich-It is impossible. Those here pointing the finger back at the one sounding the alarm are just worshiping the idol of the man who created the mess in the first place. You have to have your head buried very deeply in the sand not to see how obviously snake-like this head pastor is! The real Jesus still says woe to men like this. As Jesus said clearly to them, “how are you going to avoid hell?”

  14. Dia! The pastor just died from the coronavirus and the church has been proven to have kept the infection secret for a period of time. This is a public health crisis and not only did the church not handle it properly, only responding when they were caught, the pastor has died from it. They didn’t take it seriously from the start nor handle it safely. That’s on the pastor and the community deserves to know.

  15. “Sins” is synonymous to “trespass” as used in Matthew 18:15. Strong’s G264 translates in the following manner:
    1. to be without a share in
    2. to miss the mark
    3. to err, be mistaken
    4. to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour, to do or go wrong
    5. to wander from the law of God, violate’s God’s law, sin

    No misuse of Matthew 18:15-17 on my part.

    As far as your protectiveness of Ms. Roys, that is your prerogative. But her choice to publish a piece that alleges wrongdoing of a brother in Christ without the supporting evidence of two or more firsthand witnesses calls for scrutiny. This particular piece entitled “Pastor of Chicago Megachurch Tells Staff to Keep an Outbreak of COVID-19 Among Pastors & Staff Secret” and the contents therein is not above reproach!

    Buck up, Kurt. The truth always prevail, thanks be to God!

    1. Din,
      The issue should be on CCN’s leadership delay in being proactive in the prevention and proliferation of the CV-19 virus to the CCN church family. The CNN staff member provided Julie Roys TWO in-church’s emails of deceitful behavior. If Pastor Sloan bullied his staff “if they wanted to remain “essential,” because if not, that could change.”; I wonder if Pastor Angel was given the same ultimatum to record the online services when he should have been home resting. You are correct to ask for scrutiny; not on Julie Roys but Pastor Sloan and his lack of love and concern for his staff and church family under his care.

    2. kurt anderson

      Dia, I was prepared to correct your continued misuse of scripture and your other comments. I almost hit “reply” but re-thought my words to you. Instead, I will only say that in honor of your Pastor Escamilla, I will no longer comment on this matter. I am saddened for him and his family.

  16. It appears that there is at least one big thing missing from this article: family. Keep in mind that as believers, we are one family. It is assumed in this article that those involved where not looking to protect each other and in fact it assumes they are working against other members or staff. After reviewing the information presented above, which is likely only one side of what happened, it appears that all involved, including the person who sent the emails, appear to be working with the best information why had at the time they had it. It is hard to judge decisions in the past when things have changed almost on a daily basis at the right course of action with the pandemic, and to judge earlier actions, which were based on the best information of the time, to what is now the medical requirements, is not a fair comparison. Please look at the information presented through the lens of love of family and with the assumption that all involved are working with the knowledge or risk of infection they had at the time, with the legal requirements of confidentially, and the love they have for other church staff and church members. Even if not all decisions where ideal, I am guessing that other churches all over the US made similar decisions at the same times, but where blessed by no one happening to become sick with Covid-19. All of us members of the family of believers at Calvary feel a heavy loss and reading this article is painful reminder that many non-believers, and perhaps even believers, may not know the love of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Please focus on praying for the family of Calvary, for the immediate family members directly affected by Covid-19, and that all people can find hope in Jesus in these troubling times.

  17. Ms. Roys, I hope you will dig deeper into all facts surrounding this matter. If it can be proved that “Reverend” Sloan’s kept secret was the proximate cause of any church member’s virus-related death, he should be charged with some degree of criminal homicide.

    1. Hysterics!!! How are we now jumping to the conclusion that the pastor is the cause of Angel Escamill’s death. This is turning into a vigilante mob. Calm down!

  18. Julie- Yikes! They have made you wait for nearly a week?? How rude and insensitive of them! And after all you have done for them!!
    Seriously, I guess you think you are more important than Pastor Angel who went home to be with the Lord after a brief fight with Covid-19 and Pastor Angel’s wife and son who are hopefully recovering from their own bouts of Covid-19.
    Julie, maybe you should have invited your followers to pray here with you for Pastor and family.
    You appear to have a heart of stone.

    1. Mary,
      Your statements are ABSOLUTELY TRUE and CORRECT. But they should have been address to both Pastor Sloan specifically and the CCN leadership in general; not Julie Roys. I took the liberty to reword your comments properly. Yikes! CCN made the church body wait for nearly a week before they were aware a CCN staff was infected by the CV-19 virus. Yes, how rude, insensitive and SELFISH of them! And they still did NOTHING!! Seriously, CCN should have invited their 6000+ congregates to pray for Pastor Angel and his family from DAY ONE; not a week later. They have a heart of stone; made Pastor Angel come to church for online services while ill which exacerbated his condition and also infected others. This was a “maronic” act. [play on your name:)]

      1. GJ-
        You completely miss my point.
        But then I suspect you know that.
        But nice try. People who worship Julie Roys will try anything to cover up the fact that she has a heart of stone and never shows compassion, even for a dying Pastor and his family.

    2. Kurt Anderson

      Mary, Julie has not only invited prayers on behalf of Pastor Escamilla but has requested that we all pause and no longer comment in honor of this Pastor. Please see her post regarding Pastor Escamilla. Your sarcasm and insults are not necessary.

  19. Serving Kids in Japan

    “Your blog seems to imply a threat to their jobs. However, in this situation, many organizations have been forced to categorize employees as “essential” or “non-essential.””

    I doubt that was the case at Sloan’s church. Before Julie started investigating him, he didn’t seem to be sending any staff home, essential or not.

  20. Wait, Jimi Chartrand, I honestly don’t understand. You seem to be saying there may have been wrongdoing (“his flesh is carnal by nature and he will have to answer one day just like all of us”) but it doesn’t matter b/c “anything beyond the cross means nothing.” Yet you also accuse Julie Roys of “working for the devil.” How is her supposed wrongdoing different from the pastor’s? And is it a meaningless accident that the Bible is full of words about specific people’s specific wrongdoing as if these things actually did matter?

  21. Serving Kids in Japan

    “They have made you wait for nearly a week?? How rude and insensitive of them!…I guess you think you are more important than Pastor Angel…”

    More importantly, Mary: Sloan made his staff work with outside volunteers, despite their valid concerns. And even after he was aware that Pastor Angel was confirmed to be infected, he kept information from those volunteers and continued to make them work.

    Did you miss that part?

    1. misterjesperson

      It is amazing the sheer and utter stupidity of some people calling themselves Christians. Within a month, two pastors die because they were at places they should not have been, both in this case, and the man that went to John MacArthur p.o.s. conference. Then a bunch of fan and idolaters of the celebrity pastors give Julie a hard time when some insider sent her the information to publicly leak it because IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO! Really, you want to shame her, because she is not your idol, and give the men you are worshiping a free pass regardless of anything that they do instead of actually worshiping God and His Truth? Beware, for the ones who will have vision these days, even 20/20 vision are those who actually read Exod. 20:20 and meditate on its relevance for today while humbly asking the Holy Spirit to help them to see and understand it. The rest of this is beyond ridiculous…

      1. Misterjesperson- You wrote “you want to shame her, because she is not your idol”.
        You are correct. I do not worship Julie Roys because she is not my idol; I do not worship any man or woman, but apparently you do. And that is exactly the problem.

  22. Calvary member

    None of the volunteers that I know were notified of the Escamilla family’s exposure or diagnosis. However Pastor Escamilla’s diagnosis was known to the Staff at the time of taping to my knowledge. The family also participated and interacted with other volunteers despite knowing they should self quarantine. I’m sure they had no ill will and hoped and prayer that they wouldn’t infect others. However we’re asked to be wise and not “tempt God”. If Jesus himself told Satan he wouldn’t jump off a cliff to tempt God to send angels to catch him, then we should not tempt God with our safety and other’s safety as well. (Matt 4:5-7)

    Again, I don’t believe that the leadership had ill will. However they were prideful and reckless. Taping a service was prioritized over everyone’s health. I’m sure that the leadership hoped no interaction with the Escamilla family would lead to more infections, however they didn’t leave it up to the volunteers to decide whether to stay for taping or leave. That was an intentional decision. There’s no way around that. There’s no excuse for taking away their decision to protect themselves from covid-19 infection. I’m sad to know that the volunteers went about possibly infecting others with compromised immune systems that may lead to more hospitalizations and deaths.

    This should be an example to other pastors. There’s a place for faith and there’s a place for prudence. If the volunteers would have know about the Escamilla’s symptoms or diagnosis before hand, possibly some of the volunteers would have stayed for the taping but perhaps others would have left. Sadly they weren’t afforded that choice to make. There’s also a gap with the department of health. The department of health should have contacted everyone in contact with the Escamillas. None of the volunteers I know were contacted. However, the dept of health’s ability to contact people lays with the truthfulness of the Escamilla’s who preferred to keep their diagnosis a secret.

    1. Calvary Member, You are right to state that “we are asked to be wise and not “tempt God”. If Jesus himself told Satan he wouldn’t jump off a cliff to tempt God to send angels to catch him, then we should not tempt God with our safety and other’s safety as well. (Matt 4:5-7). Thus at your next Q&A session or congregational meeting, please ask Pastor Sloan not to take Mark 16:18 literally “They will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them”.

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