January 8, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PASTORS, ELDERS, AND CHURCH CHARGED FOR WORSHIPING TOGETHER
MAXIMUM TOTAL PENALTY IS $10.8 MILLION PLUS JAIL TIME IF CONVICTED
This week two pastors of Trinity Bible Chapel received two charges each for violating the Reopening Ontario Act on January 3, 2021. An additional pastor, three additional elders, and the church itself received one charge each for violating the Reopening Ontario Act on the same date. Each personal charge carries a maximum fine of $100,000 and one year in jail, while the charge to the church as an institution carries a maximum fine of $10,000,000 if convicted. Please note that the fine to the church poses no personal risk to individual members. This is all for gathering a congregation to worship Christ in obedience to Scripture. The elders and the church have retained legal counsel from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) who plan to represent us in court.
Our congregation gathered for worship from June 14, 2020 until December 24, 2020 with no reported outbreak of COVID-19 and with no interference from the authorities. The only difference is that the Province of Ontario entered its second lockdown on December 26, 2020.
This is the second week in a row that all elders have been charged. Last time members of the Waterloo Regional Police Service delivered our summonses to us at our homes, but this time they were delivered by regional by-law officers.
Being advised by the JCCF, we will not hold in-person gatherings in excess of 10 persons at Trinity Bible Chapel, commencing immediately, until the end of the current lockdown period on January 23. We plan to conduct drive-in services on the Lord’s Day. We know that this decision is heartbreaking for the many people who have found hope during our church services and who are also already burdened with despair by the destructive measures of our government, but we believe it is in the best interest of the church for various reasons, which we might make clearer in due course. We are committed to regathering as a congregation in person as soon as possible.
As we walk through this storm, our eyes are joyfully fixed upon our Saviour who can end this trial with one small word. He is a kind and gentle Saviour, and we can trust Him. “I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).
In order to demonstrate your commitment to gathering for worship, we ask that you attend our drive-in worship service this Sunday at 10:30 AM. We do ask that all who attend our drive-in service remain in their vehicles in accordance with provincial regulations. The Province of Ontario considers it unlawful and dangerous for you to exit your vehicles to speak with each other on the church property, but you are apparently free to exchange greetings amidst the crowds of shoppers at Walmart which is 3.6 kilometers from our lot.
Further internal communication will come to our congregation at a later time.