Langley, BC (WNews) – Riverside Calvary Chapel in Langley is held services again in violation of the Public Health Orders against social gatherings. The church held a protest/service defying a public health order, a second week in a row.
The church is held in 3 services with around 50 each service including many people who are new to the church.
Riverside held a service last Sunday in violation of the health order and was issued a $2300 ticket by the Langley RCMP. WNews reached out to Langley RCMP for details on the matter and yet to hear back from officers.
The church lawyers last week said they believe that the orders including the closure of the churches violated the Charter of Rights and Freedom after the church had a service last Sunday.
However, no tickets were issued to the Riverside Calvary church at the time, said Kari Simpson, executive director of the Langley-based Culture Guard group.
Kari Simpson, the spokesperson for the church and executive director of Cultural Guard, told WNews that bylaws officers from the Township of Langley came to the church around 8:30 and watched from their vehicles. They left ten minutes later.
Interviewed at the church, Simpson told Langley Advance Times and WNews, that attendance at the morning service overflowed from the chapel into a church fellowship hall in the same complex as the chapel, located in the 9600 block of 201 Street.
While some attendees wore masks, others did not, Simpson said.
“I see a lot of people exercising their right to wear masks and I see a lot of people exercising their right not to wear masks,” Simpson said.
Simpson said the $2,300 fine levied on the previous Sunday, Nov. 29, will be challenged in court, with the church entering a not-guilty plea.
“I think it’s an opportunity,” Simpson commented.
“[Provincial health officer] Bonnie Henry is going to have to justify her position on this. I think she’s going to have real trouble.”
Simpson told reporters at the church that she was not a member of the congregation, but was acting as an advocate for the church, and a “p––d off citizen.”
Simpson said the church has experienced considerable heat on social media over holding services, both for and against.
“Calling it a mixed reaction would be an understatement,” Simpson said and called for a “tempered” comment.
Simpson called for a calm and tempered for people to talk about the rights for churches to hold worship services. She said more people appeared to be attending the church.
Culture Guard is known for its opposition to the use of the SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) resources in schools, and the campaign to have a “Canadian Judeo-Christian Flag” raised at Langley City hall after a rainbow Pride flag was flown.
Simpson filed a human rights complaint against the city of Langley to argue the Pride banner “panders to sex activism, bully tactics, child abuse and special rights for certain groups.”
The claim was rejected by the tribunal, a victory that cost the City $62,000.
According to the Langley Advance-Times, A fine was levied on the Riverside Calvary church after RCMP were called to the Chapel on the previous Sunday, Nov. 29, to investigate a report that in-person services were being held.
One day after the ticket was issued, pastor Brent Smith said the congregation was not looking for a fight but feels it has a right to hold services.
“We just believe there has been many inconsistencies with what is essential, and we simply desire to worship our Lord in a safe and Biblical way.”
Online, the church website describes it as an “evangelical Protestant church” that is affiliated with the Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, a California based mega-church with 30,000 members.
Two other churches in Chilliwack have once again defied orders against in-person services as well, calling it a violation of the Charter of Rights.
On Sunday, Dec. 6, Chilliwack RCMP said they were “actively pursuing investigations of the in-person congregation services conducted in Chilliwack on Sunday December 6.”
“Although the vast majority of places of worship in Chilliwack and throughout our region are complying with the directions of the Provincial Health Order, a small number of congregations continue to conduct in-person services contrary to the existing BC Provincial Health Order,” the police statement said.
“To protect the integrity of the investigation, the evidence obtained, and the privacy of all individuals involved the RCMP is not providing further comment during the course of the investigation. At the conclusion of a thorough investigation, Chilliwack RCMP in consultation with the BC Prosecution Service will determine the next course of action.”
Story contain information from Langley Advance-Times.
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