Tampa Church Reopens with Worship Service on Pentecost

May 28, 2020

TAMPA, FL – The River at Tampa Bay Church will hold an outdoor worship service on church property this Sunday, May 31, the day of Pentecost, beginning at 9:30 a.m. This will be the church’s first in-person worship service since the pastor, Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne, was wrongfully arrested at his home on March 30 for holding a church service on Sunday, March 29. The politically motivated charges have since been dropped. Sunday morning’s service will kick-off nightly revival services, Sunday through Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Attendees are asked to register for “The Stand.” 

The service will be outside in the church parking lot covered by AstroTurf and can accommodate anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 people. People are encouraged to bring their own chairs/seating, and any other items they may need (hats, umbrellas, etc.) for an outdoor event. Right of admission is reserved and registration is required for entry. Last week, the registration page opened and already has over 2,800 registered. Several babies also will be dedicated during the service.

Drs. Rodney and Adonica Howard-Browne founded the church in 1996. He also heads Revival Ministries International, which includes several ministries. He was born in South Africa and has resided in Tampa, Florida since the mid-1990s. 

Liberty Counsel represents Pastor Howard-Browne and was hours away from filing a federal lawsuit against Hillsborough County when Gov. Ron DeSantis on April 1 amended his Executive Order to declare that attendance at churches, synagogues, and houses of worship is essential activity. His order then preempted every local government order respecting churches, including Hillsborough County. On May 15, the criminal misdemeanor charges against Howard-Browne were dropped. The arrest for holding a church service (that was previously approved by the Hillsborough County Sheriff) caught the attention of the world. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The River at Tampa Bay Church is essential to the community and feeds 900 families each week. The church ministers to certain places of the inner city where law enforcement officers are cautious to go. This Sunday will be an incredible time of worship, celebration, and healing.” 

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