Damien Dupont, visiting the Free Grace Baptist Church for an in-person service, during a time when there is a ban on gatherings, speaks to a television news crew outside the church on Dec. 13, 2020. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress)

Damien Dupont, visiting the Free Grace Baptist Church for an in-person service, during a time when there is a ban on gatherings, speaks to a television news crew outside the church on Dec. 13, 2020. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress)

3 Chilliwack churches could face charges for defying pandemic ban on in-person gatherings

Chilliwack RCMP began with awareness campaign but have now recommended charges for gatherings

At least two churches in Chilliwack continued to defy provincial health orders this Sunday.

The Chilliwack Free Reformed Church, just north of the Vedder overpass, held its 9:30 a.m. service, and the Free Grace Baptist Church held its 11 a.m. service.

Neither of the churches’ parking lots were overly full, and both churches do stream their sermons live for those who prefer to watch from home. But both have also kept their sanctuaries open for their congregants who prefer to worship in person.

On Saturday, Dec. 12, Chilliwack RCMP announced that they are recommending charges against three unnamed churches.

“We have submitted reports with regards to the violation involving in-person congregations from last weekend,” said Sgt. Krista Vrolyk with the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment. “We’re seeking BC Prosecution Service charge assessment.”

A ban on gatherings, including for worship, went into effect on Nov. 19. A church in Langley has also been holding in-person services and has already received fines for doing so.

There was a CTV news crew on site at the Free Baptist Reform Church prior to their 11 a.m. service. They spoke with a man, Damien Dupont. on camera who said it was not his regular church. He also told them that the media is being “disingenuous” about COVID-19, and that people are “dying with COVID, not of COVID.”

The reverends at both churches have spoken to The Progress to defend their decision to hold services despite public health orders.

READ MORE: RCMP submit reports to BC Prosecution Service after three Chilliwack churches continue in-person worship


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

News

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, prepares a dose of the Moderna vaccine in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Almost two in three Canadians surveyed recently said they trust COVID-19 vaccines to be both safe and effective. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Northern Health to open 30 COVID vaccine clinics for oldest residents, Indigenous seniors

Health authority says it plans to vaccinate nearly 15,000 people in Phase Two

Ed Harrison tops school district by-election poll. (file photo)
Ed Harrison tops Terrace school district by-election poll

One of seven people vying to fill vacant seat

Paramedics Andrew Mills, left, and Rick Harwood are up from Victoria to help out local ambulance crews. (Photo courtesy BC Emergency Health Services)
Extra paramedics sent to Terrace

Area is experiencing high number of COVID cases

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Security has been stepped up at both Mills Memorial Hospital in Terrace, pictured here, and at Kitimat General Hospital in Kitimat. (File photo)
Stillbirth reaction leads to more hospital security

Staff, physicians facing threats and harassment

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is administered to a personal support worker at the Ottawa Hospital on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 in Ottawa. Doctors in Alberta have signed an open letter asking for prioritized vaccination of health-care staff who work directly with patients on dedicated COVID-19 units. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
COVID vaccines for seniors in B.C.: Here’s how to sign up

Seniors 90+, Indigenous seniors 65+ and Indigenous Elders can book starting March 8

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

Most Read