COVID-19: Canadian Church Fined $83K for Conducting Physical Service

A Canadian church has been fined $83,000 for holding a physical church service in January. They were fined by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice as they had more than 10 people in attendance.

Trinity Bible Chapel in Waterloo could not send worshippers away or keep their doors shut after the government gave laws that restrict the number of religious gatherings to only 10 persons, last December. This law was made to curb the further spread of corona virus.

The church service which held on January 24, made the court to charge them with contempt of court. Likewise, they were fined heavily. Pastor Will Schuurman got a fine of $5,000 and another pastor was fined $4,000. Meanwhile, each of the church elders was ordered to pay $3,000. The church itself, Trinity Bible Chapel, was fined $15,000 and was also asked to pay $45,000 to make up the court costs of the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG).

According to the MAG, it took attorney's 104 hours to take legal action against the church for conducting physical service on January 24. The church pleaded guilty to the charges, which are ultimate and cannot be appealed.

However, the church holds the believe that "God showed up in power, offered eternal hope to people, and saved souls" that day. After that day’s service, Pastor Schuurman tweeted that seven people got baptized and four more also asked to be baptized.

Nevertheless, the church admitted that the most worrying part of the penalty is that the court sees their actions as disrespectful. In his citation, the Honorable Justice noted the following;

"The position of the Contemnors appears to be as follows: we will abide as long as this does not go on too long, and if it does, we may not comply. There is no apology or demonstration of remorse for the conduct of the case. The Contemnors assert that they are conflicted. However, they do not apologize for their breach of this Order.

"There was no sincere apology, and as I have noted, there was no apology at all. The Contemnors reject the authority of the court by their actions."

Trinity Bible Chapel affirmed that it respects the court and those of authority but the Holy Spirit is the maker of all authorities, including the courts and its delegated powers.

A GoFundMe page has been created to assist the church with legal fees and also help the elders to pay their fines, which could increase up to $10,000 each. So far, $39,474 has been raised out of the $150,000 goal.

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