A church in Crystal Lake held services on at least two Sundays with several people in attendance and ignored police orders to comply with the state’s stay-at-home order, authorities said.
The Crystal Lake Police Department received six anonymous complaints and responded on April 5 and April 12 to The Arising Church, 211 North Virginia Street.
Officers responded just after 10:30 a.m. on both occasions and observed numerous cars in the parking lot of the church, Crystal Lake Police Chief James Black said.
Police verbally warned the church officials both times they responded and asked that they comply with Governor J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home executive order.
“On both occasions they did not comply with our verbal warning and requests to comply with the Executive Order,” Black told Lake and McHenry County Scanner.
The police department notified the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and the McHenry County Department of Public Health.
It is unclear how many parishioners were inside the church each time as officers did not count them, Black said. The service was live streamed on the church’s YouTube channel and several people in attendance could be seen on the camera.
“We realize that people are frustrated and scared about what is happening around the state and the nation. The City supports the Governor’s Executive Order and it is important that any business or organization follow the guidelines outlined in the Executive Orders since these measures are recommendations from the leading State, national, and global health organizations,” Black said.
“However, the Executive Order does not nullify the constitutional protections guaranteed to its citizens. We do have to be respectful of First Amendment rights and the constitutional rights afforded to religious organizations,” Black said.
“It is important to practice social distancing and to stay at home when possible. The sooner we control the spread of this virus, the sooner we can return to normal, or whatever our new normal will be,” he added.
When asked if arrests would be made if this continues, Black said, “It is my hope that we always can obtain compliance with our verbal requests.”