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A Surge of Over 100 COVID-19 Cases Linked to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry

A recent COVID-19 spike in Northern California’s Shasta County has been partly attributed to the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in the city of Redding, according to a local news site.

The Record Searchlight on Tuesday (Oct. 6) reported that 123 COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks were linked to the school, while 80 other cases were attributed to a rehab center in Redding.

Bethel canceled its outdoor service this past Sunday (Oct. 4) and also its upcoming Oct. 11 service. Starting this week, the School of Supernatural Ministry is switching to online instruction. 

With cases surging, Shasta County will have to go through tighter COVID-19 restrictions for businesses, according to the Record Searchlight.

Public Health Director Robin Schurig was quoted saying businesses will have three days to comply and the new restrictions will go into effect Friday.

Schurig said the county could face even tighter controls.

Bethel, a Pentecostal church in the city of Redding, operates the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. The school offers classes on life coaching, prophecy, preaching and career ministry. 

While originally under the Assemblies of God denomination, the controversial church now identifies as nondenominational. Bethel and other charismatic churches emphasize spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, healings, and prophecy. Bethel has a particular emphasis on miracles. 

Early on in the pandemic, Bethel church leaders said they were taking precautions in the way it conducted its ministries.

In March, for example, they discouraged Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry students, who evangelize to strangers as they learn to pray and to heal the sick, from visiting health care settings.

Alejandra Molina

Alejandra is a national reporter for Religion News Service where she covers Latinos and religion. Her work has appeared in the AP, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Press-Enterprise, and Orange County Register.