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Journey Christian Church suspends in-person gatherings due to COVID-19 outbreak; pastor encourages vaccinations

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From Staff Reports

For the third straight week, the Journey Christian Church has cancelled its Sunday services at both its Apopka and Lake County campuses due to an outbreak of COVID-19 among its staff, volunteers, and families according to a statement on the front page of its website.

"All in-person gatherings are suspended until further notice," the statement reads.

In their midweek conversation video, which is published on their YouTube page, Journey Lead Pastor John Hampton gave a brief update on the number of people impacted by the virus.

"We've been dealing with a COVID crisis here at Journey. It started out as a dozen or 17, then to 40, and now I don't think we can even put a number on it. We know there's at least a half dozen people hospitalized. Some of them have come home, but some of them are still there."

Free vaccinations offered this weekend at Journey

Apopka Campus: Saturday July 24th 9:00am-noon 1965 South Orange Blossom Trail

Lake County Campus: Sunday July 25th 9:00am-noon

15733 Dillard Road in Eustis

Followup vaccinations will be August 14th for Apopka, and August 15th for Lake County. Both 9am-12pm. Visit journeychristian.com/events to learn more about which vaccines each campus will offer.

"Our hearts are breaking because of what we are seeing," said Associate Lead Pastor Dustin Aagaard. "If they're not in the hospital, some are still severely sick."

Hampton went on in the conversation to recommend vaccinations against COVID-19.

"Because of the way COVID has been spreading in Florida... particularly and frankly in states that don't have high vaccination rates. Orange County is up 30% from last week... so I want to encourage you to get vaccinated... I've been fully vaccinated. Pastor Dustin has been fully vaccinated."

Hampton spoke about the need to set politics aside and do what is prudent.

"It's a shame that this has become so politicized. It shouldn't be. It's a matter of public safety. It's a matter of health, and making wise decisions to protect people... so if you're not vaccinated I want to encourage you. I got my first in January and my second in February. Don't let this become a political issue. It's not, it's about public health and it's about protecting people around you. Whatever this strand is, it's more aggressive and it's more contagious, and people are really sick."

"And it's going the wrong way," said Aagaard.

According to Hampton, some people were critical of Journey's decisions to suspend service both in 2020, and 2021.

"Some people said it last year, and they are saying it this year - this is fear... you're acting in fear. I want to push back on that. I don't think that's the case at all. I think we are acting in a way that is prudent and make sure we do what's best for the most people."

To view the 3-minute video statement from pastors Hampton and Aagaard, go here.

To view the 25-minute Midweek Conversation video with additional details about the outbreak, and Journey's response, go here.

For more details, go to the Journey Christian Church website.

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