Trinity Bible Chapel, Which Broke COVID Rules, Fined for Contempt of Court, Locked Down

A Canadian church is being sanctioned for a second time after defying COVID-19 restrictions. On Tuesday, Trinity Bible Chapel, located in Ontario, Canada was issued an $85,000 CAD fine ($68,000 USD) for being held in contempt of court.

The charge stems from an April church service that exceeded the number of people allowed to gather indoors under pandemic guidelines set at that time. The church allegedly blocked surveillance that would conceal the number of church-goers entering the sanctuary, according to Judge John Krawchenko of the Superior Court of Justice.

The fines break down as the following: one $35,000 fine for the church; separate $10,000 fines each for Pastors Jacob Reaume and Will Schuurman; and separate $7,500 fines for church members Dean Wanders, Randy Frey, Harvey Frey. and Daniel Gordon

Trinity Bible Chapel was also fined $38,000 in February for $38,000, as well as $45,000 Canadian in court fees. Both amounts have been paid off by the Woolwich church.

The fines from both February and July are due to the church violating COVID-19 restrictions presented in the Reopening Ontario Act, and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

Currently, the church is secured with government-issued locks, which will be removed when the church is found in compliance with certain regulations—like creating a safety plan—and providing the evidence to the attorney general's office.

"Although we are disappointed with the heavy sanctions ordered against Trinity Bible Chapel for the offense of holding a religious gathering, we are pleased with Justice Krawchenko's order that the government's locks must be immediately removed from the church doors upon the church posting a safety plan," said Lisa Bildy of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.

"Today in court we received a sentence of fines totaling $85,000 plus forthcoming legal costs," the church said on Twitter. "The total we will have to pay will be well over $100k. But Christ is worth it! This is a small price to pay for Him compared to the price He has paid for us."

Pastor Reaume posted his response to the sanctions in a blog post on the church's official website.

"Our Lord has taught us to gather for worship at least one day in seven, and that has been the consistent pattern of Christians since the Day of Pentecost," he wrote. "Our greatest sorrow in these contempt findings is not the penalties we have incurred but rather that we defied the orders of this court to uphold the orders of our Creator. We would much rather live in a world where the government and this honorable court provide orders that are in line with the orders of our Lord Jesus."

Reaume ended the blog post by stating that there's a potential chance of gaining access to the church soon.

There have been 7,333 active cases of COVID-19 and 103 deaths in Canada over the past 14 days, according to their government.

Canadian Flag
Trinity Bible Church in Canada was fined thousands after failing to comply with local COVID-19 laws. This is a stock photo of the Canadian flag. DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images