The elders of Trinity Bible Chapel are not the only religious leaders in Ontario to have faced similar charges. However, the elders noted, “to our knowledge, this is the first time that each and every member of an entire elders board has been charged for gathering a church to worship.”
Six elders of a church in Ontario, Canada, have been asked to appear in a criminal court for holding in-person services in violation of COVID-19-related restrictions. The elders, who face a fine of up to $10,000, say the action is “a violation of God-given rights.”
The members of Trinity Bible Chapel in Waterloo were charged last week under Section 10.1 of the Reopening Ontario Act for exceeding the number of permitted people in attendance — 10 people indoors and 10 people outdoors — during a worship service on Dec. 27, according to CBC News.
Officers from the Waterloo Region Police Service visited the homes of the elders at night and gave them each a summons to court.
The church says no outbreak has been traced back to its services since they reopened in June. But they “have heard a plethora of stories from many of our congregants about how they were negatively affected spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and financially during the first lockdown,” the elders said in a statement.