More than 400 people attended the All-Church Worship Service at the Capitol on Sunday, May 17. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

An outdoor worship service on the steps of the Capitol on Sunday, May 17, drew about 400 people.

The event was hosted by Salem House of Prayer, radio station KSLM, and Convergent Promotions, a Eugene-area firm. Jeff Kropf, a talk show host on KSLM and once a state legislator, served as master of ceremonies for the outdoor Sunday morning event.

“It’s time for Christians to take a stand for our religious freedom,” according to an audio promotion for the event. The announcement noted that the country’s founding protected “the right to worship freely without government interference – until now.”

Gov. Kate Brown in March banned large gatherings as part of a state effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. That meant in-person church services, among other events, were suspended. The governor has now allowed gatherings of up to 25 people if social distancing standards such as staying six feet apart were followed.

 The promotion for Sunday’s event said churches were “unconstitutionally” shut down while “pot shops, liquor stores and other businesses were allowed to operate.”

Several churches across Oregon are asking as state judge in Baker County to lift the ban on services. A ruling is expected this week in the Baker County Circuit Court case.

Promoters of Sunday’s event noted that it wasn’t a protest so “leave your signs at home.” Attendees also were asked to follow social distancing standards.

“Let’s show Oregon that Christians can safely worship just as well as they can go shopping,” the event announcement said.

On Sunday, face masks recommended by government health authorities were scarce and worshippers sat shoulder to shoulder.

More than 400 people attended the All-Church Worship Service at the Capitol on Sunday, May 17. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Melissa Cheek of Sweet Home leads a small group prayer during the All-Church Worship Service at the Capitol on Sunday, May 17. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

More than 400 people attended the All-Church Worship Service at the Capitol on Sunday, May 17. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Jeff Kropf, radio talk show host and former state representative, serves as the master of ceremonies at the All-Church Worship Service at the Capitol on Sunday, May 17. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

More than 400 people attended the All-Church Worship Service at the Capitol on Sunday, May 17. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Peter Carlson leads a prayer during the All-Church Worship Service at the Capitol on Sunday, May 17. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

More than 400 people attended the All-Church Worship Service at the Capitol on Sunday, May 17. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

More than 400 people attended the All-Church Worship Service at the Capitol on Sunday, May 17. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

More than 400 people attended the All-Church Worship Service at the Capitol on Sunday, May 17. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Grammon family performs worship music during the All-Church Worship Service at the Capitol on Sunday, May 17. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

More than 400 people attended the All-Church Worship Service at the Capitol on Sunday, May 17. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

More than 400 people attended the All-Church Worship Service at the Capitol on Sunday, May 17. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

RELATED COVERAGE:

Salem church joins legal effort to overturn governor's COVID-19 orders

Contact Salem Reporter by email at info@salemreporter.com.

SUPPORT SALEM REPORTER'S JOURNALISM - A monthly subscription starts at $5. Go HERE. Or contribute to keep our reporters and photographers on duty. Go HERE. Checks can be sent: Salem Reporter, 2925 River Rd S #280 Salem OR 97302. Your support matters.