Thursday, January 28, 2021

Ontario church, pastor fined for indoor service

Doug Ford issues warning to Woolwich church: ‘there will be consequences’ | Global News - Kevin Nielsen:

January 25, 2021 - "Ontario Premier Doug Ford warned leaders of a church in Waterloo Region that they will face the 'consequences' if they hold more services. 'Please don’t continue doing this. There will be consequences,' Ford said Monday as he urged the church leaders to lead by example.

"On Sunday, two services were held at the Trinity Bible Chapel despite a court order which was filed on Friday in an attempt to prevent them from happening. Ford was asked about Sunday’s services and chastised the leaders for hosting them..., 'I think it’s careless and irresponsible for them to host this, especially when we are in the situation we are in right now,' he said....

"Waterloo Regional Police Chief Bryan Larkin says there will be a plan in place to prevent any more gatherings at the church.... In December, police issued summons to six church elders after services were held at the church in defiance of the Reopening Ontario Act. The region said nine charges were laid by its bylaw officers including six people and the church corporation itself for hosting the event. Two other people were charged for attending the gathering. The church had moved to holding drive-in services but announced last week it would hold services inside on Sunday....

The government of Ontario declared a state of emergency and imposed a stay-at-home order on Jan. 12, banning indoor gatherings and activities including religious services. Some religious services, such as weddings and funerals, are permitted provided they include no more than 10 people and physical distancing can be maintained. The rules apply to the entire province and will remain in effect until at least Feb. 11."

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Woolwich pastor faces fine of up to $100,000 for Sunday service ignoring COVID-19 lockdown | Global News - Kevin Nielsen:

January 28, 2021 - "Waterloo Region issued nine tickets to members of the Trinity Bible Chapel in Woolwich, Ont., for holding services on Sunday in spite of the COVID-19 lockdown, according to Waterloo Region. Waterloo Region spokesperson TJ Miller told Global News in an email that five elders, pastor Jacob Reaume and the Trinity Bible Chapel corporation have all been charged under the Reopening Ontario Act.

"The church has been in the news previously — and has even attracted comment from Ontario Premier Doug Ford. As for the region, it took things to a different level this time as it attempts to get Trinity Bible Chapel to follow an Ontario order that hundreds of other religious institutions across the province have been able to keep.

"'The Region of Waterloo has also charged the pastor and one elder under Ontario Regulation 82/20 for attending a gathering of more than 10, Miller said. If convicted of hosting or organizing an in-person gathering of more than 10 people, the pastor and the elder each face a fine of between $10,000 and $100,000....

"A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office confirmed that an injunction was issued last Friday restraining the Trinity Bible Chapel from holding gatherings of more than 10 people. 'Church services were held at Trinity Bible Chapel on Sunday, January 24, 2021, despite the injunction order,' the spokesperson told Global News in an email. 'On January 27, 2021, the motion for contempt proceeded. The Court made findings of contempt against all Respondents, with reasons to follow.'

"Sentencing for the matter will take place in February."

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