Georgia pastor and Trump adviser tests positive for COVID-19
GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) - The leader of a mega-church in northern Georgia who has provided spiritual advice to President Donald Trump has tested positive for COVID-19.
Jentezen Franklin, the senior pastor of the Gainesville Free Chapel, was absent on Sunday, news outlets reported.
Pastor Javon Ruff announced the diagnosis during the Free Chapel Sunday service, which was broadcast both in person and live.
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“We would like to make you aware that Pastor Franklin has come into contact with COVID, but he is perfectly fine. He's doing really well, ”said Ruff. “He got tested and his test came back positive, so he's doing the right thing and staying in quarantine and remaining aloof. We will keep praying and lifting him up. "
The diagnosis was made within days of Franklin attending a White House Christmas party. On Tuesday, Franklin posted a photo of himself and his daughter on Instagram at a Christmas party at the White House.
Trump watched Franklin's church service during a national day of prayer earlier this year. Franklin, who previously told The Associated Press that he had met with Trump at least ten times on matters of faith, also appeared at a virtual call to prayer for Trump's campaign when he and First Lady Melania Trump were being treated for COVID-19 .
Franklin hosts the show "Kingdom Connection".
No direct link was made between Franklin's diagnosis and his participation in the party. More than a dozen White House parties have been criticized for being held indoors and not forcing people to wear masks.
"Pastor Jentezen Franklin's visit to the White House was unrelated to his diagnosis," a church spokesman told WXIA-TV in a statement. The spokesman said Franklin was exposed to an infected community on Thursday.
Ruff announced that the candlelight service at the Holy Chapel on Christmas Eve will take place practically "out of caution" and that the weekly services will resume on January 3rd.
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