The church’s convocation caused concern for Mecklenburg County health officials, who worry about hundreds of people gathering in a small space.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The pastor who is hosting a seven-day convocation in northwest Charlotte against the pleas of the health department is the same one who police said violated a county stay-at-home order this spring.
Brian Carn is the pastor at Kingdom City Church which hosted its 3rd Holy Convocation, “The Giants are Coming,” the week of Nov. 8.
In April, Carn was in hot water with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department after videos circulated of him claiming to have COVID-19 and still continuing to hold services.
Carn later posted videos on his Facebook page reversing statements he made on the previous recordings.
“I don’t have, nor have I ever had COVID-19,” he said. “It cannot touch me.”
Carn also began selling $15 “virus proof” T-shirts on his website. In many of his sermons, he told churchgoers that God would shield them from the virus.
CMPD reportedly tried on multiple occasions to ask KCC to stop holding large gatherings, however, the police department reported its efforts were unsuccessful.
Months later, KCC began advertising that its convocation would go on as planned.
The church’s convocation caused concern for county health officials, who worry about hundreds of people gathering in a small space.
“We actually spent the week before this event having multiple conversations with the pastor of the church,” Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris said.
Harris said they warned him about the superspreader event at United House of Prayer for All People earlier this fall. Events at the church ultimately led to at least nine people dying from COVID-19 and another 208 contracting the virus.
Harris said Carn told them he was not interested in having a repeat of what happened at United House of Prayer but also told her he did not believe his congregants would be as likely to be impacted because his “congregation is younger.”
Harris pointed out that many of the people who were sickened from the United House of Prayer event were secondary contacts, meaning they came in contact with someone who attended the event but did not attend themselves.
County health officials worked with Carn to give the church 500 masks and put up signage in the building. The church also put up a heated tent to help attendees social distance.
Harris, however, said Carn’s willingness to cooperate with the county recommendations quickly faded.
“From a spiritual standpoint, he feels like he has to do things the way he’s doing them in order to really be effective with his congregation,” Harris said.
Videos circulating on social media showed people packed into pews, and limited mask-wearing at the first days of the convocation.
WCNC Charlotte recorded many of the attendees Wednesday coming and going from the building. There was a mix of people who wore masks while entering and exiting the building, and people who did not.
While churches are largely protected by the Constitution from government regulation, the county health director is able to issue an imminent hazard order.
Harris issued one last month to the United House of Prayer after the church attempted to hold more large-scale events in the midst of the documented outbreak.
Harris said thus far, there is not enough evidence that the event at KCC has risen to the level of a public hazard.
“I’ve got to be able to show that there’s been transmission, and I can’t show that right now,” Harris said.
However, she adds, she feels strongly that the odds are high that COVID-19 is lurking in the convocation.
“Unfortunately, we’re gonna be doing clean up as opposed to preventing,” she said.
Repeated calls placed to Carn and the Kingdom City Church were not returned.