Trump, millions go to church online on National Day of Prayer amid coronavirus
March 16, 2020
Millions of Americans, including President Trump, attended religious services Sunday, not in person, but via screen as the nation grapples with social distancing and limiting public events to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump declared Sunday a National Day of Prayer after designating a national emergency. Megachurches -- from Bethel Church in Redding, Calif. to Elevation Church in Charlotte, N.C. -- streamed their Sunday service online through apps, websites and YouTube.
"I am watching a great and beautiful service by Pastor Jentezen Franklin," the president, who tested negative for the coronavirus according to a statement from his personal physician, tweeted at 11:20 a.m. "Thank you!"
Franklin, the pastor of Free Chapel in Gainesville, Ga., preached a message titled, "Choose faith over fear," to an empty auditorium viewed by nearly 200,000 as he thanked Trump, reading out the National Day of Prayer proclamation.
"I ask you to join me in a day of prayer for all people who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and to pray for God’s healing hand to be placed on the people of our Nation," Trump said in his declaration issued Saturday.
"The building and the seats are not the church, the people are the church," Franklin said.