Canada police officers prevented the people from going to a drive-in worship service in Manitoba.
On Nov. 29, Canadian police officers in Manitoba blocked churchgoers from entering The Church of God at Steinbach. Officers prevented the people from attending a 9:30 a.m. drive-in church service alleging their gathering is in violation of the Manitoba public health order.
A week before the incident, The Church of God at Steinbach received a $5,000 fine ticket for its alleged violation of the COVID 19 implemented restrictions in the province, the Christian Post reported. The church continued its church service despite the rule that prevents churches from conducting an in-person service.
The church decided to continue having a gathering the following Sunday, and were blocked as they tried to do so. A video uploaded to Facebook showed the situation: police cars blocking church members from entering the church, forcing them to line up on the street outside the church's perimeter.
Yet the officers did not succeed in preventing the churchgoers from listening to the word of God. The churchgoers parked outside the church's parking lot and listened to the church's pastor, Henry Hildebrandt, as he preached using a loudspeaker. His preaching was also broadcast via radio.
Hildebrandt expressed his grief over what the church has to go through. "It seems like we're living in a different Canada," he said as he preached. "It's very heartbreaking to me."
He also reminded the church people that God gave His church the right to worship Him and that the Lord wants to see His people united. He also said that the government's COVID-19 restrictions are an attack on faith and freedom of the church to do its God-given mandate.
Hildebrandt later released an open letter saying "the Bible teaches Christians to be good citizens and obey the reasonable demands of our government." He added that "it does not "teach blind obedience to the authorities when onerous restrictions are placed on our freedoms."
The pastor also noted how the COVID 19 restrictions allow liquor stores, cannabis dispensaries, and other establishments are allowed operating while places where the people who desire to worship God together can meet are prohibited from opening. He said that they are just asking for equal treatment, not any special treatment.
"There must be an allowable expression of faith that is deemed essential while we are allowing the sale of products at establishments that exist solely for the sale of alcohol, coffee, donuts, cannabis, and fast food," the pastor added.
Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief provincial public health officer earlier announced that they will enforce public health restrictions in its attempt to flatten the curve of the COVID 19 cases in the province.
"If somebody was undertaking activity that we felt put the health of the public at risk, we could issue a health hazard order that would require an organization to close," said Roussin. "There could be continued fines, there could be a prosecution under the Public Health Act," he added.