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Korean Churches Close for First Time as Coronavirus Cases Hit 3,700

(UPDATED) More than 1 million ask government to ban Shincheonji, an apocalyptic Christian sect linked to half of infections.
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Korean Churches Close for First Time as Coronavirus Cases Hit 3,700
Myungsung Church in Seoul was one of many churches across South Korea to close its Sunday worship services due to the coronavirus outbreak.

[Updated March 1 with latest statistics from Korean health officials]

Although March 1 usually marks one of the most joyous services in South Korea, in celebration of Independence Movement Day, an unprecedented number of churches will be closed Sunday in response to an escalating coronavirus outbreak now second in scale only to China.

“This is the first time that churches are officially postponing services in the 100 years of Protestant history and 200 years of Catholic history [in Korea],” said Won Jae-chun, a professor at Christian Handong Global University in Pohang. “Services and masses have not stopped—even during the Korean War.”

The world’s largest church, Seoul’s Pentecostal Yoido Full Gospel, announced it will broadcast its services behind closed doors to its half a million members. Other megachurches in Seoul with over 50,000 members that are broadcasting services include Sarang, Onnuri, and Myungsung, where one associate pastor has a confirmed ...

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