A Religious Group Has Gone Ahead With A Conference In Colorado. The State Is Trying To Stop It

A screenshot of the Facebook event for Andrew Wommack Ministries’ Oct. 7 conference.

As a legal battle between the state and a Christian group continues, public health officials have now asked a judge to halt a conference taking place this week in Woodland Park.

Andrew Wommack Ministries planned to host an in-person ministers' conference expected to draw hundreds of attendees. The group has tried several times since early last week to get exemptions from statewide health orders that limit crowd sizes during the pandemic. Those efforts have all been denied.

In a request filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court of Colorado, health officials with the state and Teller County said the group has gone ahead with the event anyway.

"An immediate temporary restraining order is necessary to protect the public from (Andrew Wommack Ministries') reckless and indifferent actions, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to help prevent possible deaths," they wrote in the court filing.

The religious organization is affiliated with Charis Bible College, and the school's 652 students are required to attend the conference, according to the initial lawsuit filed Sept. 28.

In their request for an injunction, health officials said one student from the college recently tested positive for COVID-19, "further increasing the risks of outbreak from the event."

The five-day conference is also open to pastors and ministers from outside Colorado. According to the event's Facebook page, attendees are able to stream the conference online.

Andrew Wommack Ministries held a conference in July that led to a COVID-19 outbreak resulting in 63 cases and one death, according to state officials.