Trinity Bible Chapel breaks COVID-19 rules
Trinity Bible Chapel in Waterloo has faced backlash from the local community for continuing to host in-person church services despite Ontario’s stay-at-home order that was issued to combat the spread of COVID-19.
The services were being held over the designated capacity, which defied the province’s order stating that there are not to be any public or private indoor gatherings that exceed 10 people for religious services.
The church website claimed that their COVID-19 policies included “self-screening, physical distancing and mask wearing.”
Despite this, dozens of church patrons were spotted entering the church on Jan. 24, with many not wearing masks.
Photos of the church interior during the services were shared on Twitter.
The service was held despite a Superior Court Order issued to the Chapel to comply with the Reopening Ontario Act.
“I understand places of worship are very, very important. Other places of worship have gone online; they’ve actually had more people viewing and going to services online than they had prior, from what I’ve been told,” Premier Doug Ford said in regard to Trinity Bible’s continued gatherings in a press conference.
The church was served with a Motion for Contempt order and is now facing multiple charges from previous gatherings. They could face fines amounting to millions of dollars, if convicted.
The Cord reached out to Trinity Bible College for a statement and was directed to “The Pastor’s Blog” which includes posts made by Pastor Jacob Reaume.
“At this time, the only info we are releasing is found on this page…in the various blog posts that Pastor Jacob has written,” Kristen Vanderboor, Trinity Bible Chapel’s admin and financial assistant said in an email.
In a blog post made on Jan. 29 titled “We have hope and encouragement: You’re invited,” Reaume addressed the restrictions made by the province against the church and his reasoning for continuing the in-person services.
“Many are in despair. Darkness has come upon the land. People are suicidal. They’re turning to drugs and alcohol to cope. Businesses are destroyed, leaving entrepreneurs and employees wondering how to survive,” Reaume said in the post.
“Families are fractured. We are required to isolate during the darkest and coldest time of the year. This is all to save us from a disease that 97.93 per cent of Canadians have not tested positive for and more than 99.9467 per cent of Canadians have not died from since it arrived on our shores over a year ago.”
After hosting a parking-lot service on Jan. 31, Reaume claimed that the church has faced “at least four threats since last week” that have been reported to the WRPS.
Currently, The Justice Centre is defending Trinity Bible Chapel against the enforcement measures being put in place by the Ontario government.
The WRPS addressed the matter in a series of tweets on Jan. 24, which stated that they are working with Region of Waterloo Public Health as well as the Region of Waterloo by-law officials to appropriately address the matter.
More information to come.