Langley RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the Riverside Calvary church in Langley in the 9600 block of 201 Street for holding an in-person service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, despite a provincial COVID-19 related ban (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)

Langley RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the Riverside Calvary church in Langley in the 9600 block of 201 Street for holding an in-person service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, despite a provincial COVID-19 related ban (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)

Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Calvary church was fined $2,300; pastor says ‘team of lawyers’ being consulted

A Langley church has been fined $2,300 for defying a provincial ban on holding services ordered by the provincial health officer.

RCMP were called to the Riverside Calvary church in the 9600 block of 201 Street around 9 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 29, to investigate a report that in-person services were being held.

Cpl. Holly Largy said officers found an in-person service was in progress.

“They [the church members] were given an opportunity to disperse, which they declined,” Largy said.

That was when the fine was issued.

Police made a second trip to the church later in the day, but found there was no in-person service in progress, only a virtual one.

A ban on indoor events was ordered on Nov. 19 in response to an increase in COVID-19 transmission in B.C.

READ MORE: COVID-19: B.C. extends private gathering ban province-wide

At the location, one church member, who did not want to be identified, called the ban an example of government “overreach” but did not fault the police for enforcing it.

“I understand they’re doing their job, but it’s excessive.”

On Monday afternoon, Nov. 30, pastor Brent Smith replied to a Langley Advance Times request for comment by saying the church was getting legal advice and hinting there will be a court challenge.

“We have a team of lawyers that are preparing a statement and will be representing us on these matters,” Smith said.

“We certainly are not looking for a fight, 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.

It went on to say that “we believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, that the Bible, Old and New Testaments, is the inspired, infallible Word of God.”

READ MORE: 2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Two churches in Chilliwack have defied the order, saying it is a violation of the Charter of Rights.

Pastors at Chilliwack Free Reformed Church and Free Grace Baptist Church held services on Nov. 21 and Nov. 22, two and three days after such gatherings were banned.

“The identification of what is and what is not an ‘essential service’ is certainly open for interpretation, but in short, we believe that churches are essential, and that Christians are commanded by God to attend public worship,” Pastor James Butler of Free Grace Baptist commented.

“Our convictions compel us to worship our God in the public gathering of his people and we must act in accordance with our conscience,” Pastor John Koopman said.



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusFort Langley

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

Just Posted

The Nisga’a Lisims Government has extended its state of local emergency. (File photo)
Nisga’a state of local emergency extended, vaccines delayed

There are 21 active COVID-19 cases in the Nisga’a Valley Health Authority

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

Terrace continues to have a high rate of COVID-19 infections per 100,000 people, according to this map which shows data from Jan. 3 to Jan. 9. (BC Centre for Disease Control)
Terrace, Nisga’a regions continue to have high rate of COVID-19 cases

Two more exposure notices posted for Terrace schools

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
‘You can’t make this stuff up’: Stories from the B.C. CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

(Thesendboys/Instagram)
Video of man doing backflip off Vancouver bridge draws police condemnation

Group says in Instagram story that they ‘don’t do it for the clout’

Most Read