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Waterloo-area church defies COVID lockdown, hosts in-person services again

Exterior view of Trinity Bible Chapel in Waterloo. GOOGLE STREET VIEW

A Waterloo-area church went ahead with Sunday morning services despite current COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and a new, firm warning from the Province.

A steady stream of cars was seen arriving at Trinity Bible Chapel in Woolwich despite the fact the Attorney General obtained an order Friday from the Superior Court of Justice, compelling the church to obey the Reopening Ontario Act or possibly be held in contempt of court.

“We do not stand in contempt of the heavenly courts though,” said pastor Jacob Reaume in his opening remarks. “In fact, I believe the heavenly courts are smiling on us.”

“Sometimes it feels like we’re under siege by the entire country right now,” said Reaume, adding that they’ve received support from thousands of people across the globe.

The church service was streamed on YouTube as well.

Reaume said that he hopes more churches will come out into the open about their meetings.

“We have a message of hope when everyone else is talking despair,” he said. “The church must meet for the glory of God, and for the love of our neighbours.”

He also claimed that MPP Randy Hillier was in attendance.

Hillier, who sits as an independent in the legislature and has been a vocal critic of the Ford government’s lockdown, tweeted a photo on Sunday which appeared to be from the inside of the church.

One man who was not a member of the church, was seen holding a sign which read, “Don’t interfere with religious services.”

“There is this intent of the police to interfere with services, and Canadian rights are that police should not interfere with religious services,” he said.

Waterloo Regional Police were not present during the service, however, bylaw officers were seen around the area.

Regional Police later issued a statement on Twitter, stating that they were aware of the gathering and are working with public health and the Region of Waterloo by-law officers to “ensure appropriate action is taken.”