Andrew Wommack Ministries canceled a youth conference scheduled to be held at Charis Bible College after a recent visitor to the Woodland Park campus tested positive for COVID-19.
Andrew Wommack Ministries canceled the Kingdom Youth Conference scheduled for Friday and Saturday when the ministry learned Thursday that a guest who had attended the Summer Family Bible Conference, held on the campus from June 29 to July 3, tested positive afterward for the virus, said Eileen Quinn, spokeswoman for the ministries.
“We believe that person was exposed to the virus before coming to the event and became symptomatic afterward,” Quinn said.
The college and ministry leadership have been working with Teller County Public Health and Environment to develop plans for safely holding upcoming events, Quinn said, noting the college had not received any cease-and-desist order for the youth conference.
The ministry did receive a cease-and-desist order from Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser on July 2 while the Bible conference was in session.
“They (the ministry) did not go through the formal process with the county,” said Teller County Commissioner Marc Dettenrieder. “We are working with them because there is the potential that this will turn into a legal matter with the state.”
Gabi Johnson, a spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said organizers confirmed that the Bible conference drew an estimated 300-500 people at an indoor auditorium.
A June variance issued to Teller County with regard to pandemic precautions limits indoor crowds to 175 people.
“We will monitor the situation and evaluate our legal options, which can include further enforcement of the cease and desist through court action,” Johnson said.
Despite the cease-and-desist order, the Bible conference continued through July 3. Ministry founder Andrew Wommack balked at the order. “We want to protect everyone from getting sick, but this is a violation of our constitutional right to peaceably assemble,” he said. “We feel like we have already gone to great lengths to do what we can do to comply, short of telling people they can’t attend.”
Wommack said the ministry has retained Liberty Counsel, a national nonprofit litigation, education, and public policy organization that defends evangelical Christian values.
In a letter to the state attorney general, Liberty Counsel argued that Gov. Jared Polis has permitted thousands of people to gather in mass protests to exercise their First Amendment rights.
On his Facebook page, Wommack writes: “I have respectfully refused to comply with the artificial limit on the number of people who can attend. We are firmly in the ‘crosshairs’ of our liberal state government. Liberty Counsel has agreed to represent us and we are fighting back. I believe it is not only our constitutional right but our duty to stop this extreme overreach of government that allows people to riot and pillage but not assemble to worship the Lord.”