After being fined $5,000 for holding an in-person worship service in violation of Manitoba province’s public health order, a Canadian church was prevented by police from holding a drive-in worship service on Sunday.
The Church of God Steinbach posted a video on its Facebook page showing “lots and lots of police” blocking churchgoers on a snowy day from entering the church’s parking lot for the 9:30 a.m. service. Unable to enter, dozens of cars lined up outside the parking lot and listened to the pastor preach from the outdoor stage through radio broadcast.
“God has given us the right to worship Him together and He wants to see His people united,” Senior Pastor Henry Hildebrandt said from the stage. “It seems like we’re living in a different Canada. It’s very heartbreaking to me.”
The church in rural Manitoba had received a $5,000 ticket last week for conducting a service despite COVID-19-related restrictions. But it said it will still hold a service on Sunday “in protest of these tyrannical edicts.”
In an open letter last week, Hildebrandt argued that while “the Bible teaches Christians to be good citizens and obey the reasonable demands of our government,” it does not “teach blind obedience to the authorities when onerous restrictions are placed on our freedoms.”