Police stand down? Church of God drive-in Sunday service goes unchallenged (for now)

Defying warnings by law enforcement to close its parking lot to worshippers, Henry Hildebrandt, the pastor at the Church of God in Aylmer, Ontario, conducted another “asphalt service” on Sunday – for the fourth time in a row.

And as the police observed from the roadside, at time of writing, no tickets were issued by the “Coronavirus Cops.”

Which is a good thing, because as far as I could tell, no tickets should be issued given that the service adhered to all safety protocols when it came to social distancing.

Drive-in Sunday sermon delivered to parked cars

After all, congregants didn’t go inside the church (which remains in lockdown mode), but rather, they remained in their cars with the windows rolled up. Hildebrandt’s service was then broadcast via FM radio frequency.

There wasn’t even the passing of the collection plate in order to prevent unnecessary social contact.

Interestingly, the parking lot couldn’t contain all the cars that showed up and some vehicles had to park on a nearby field to take in the service.

New worshippers attend service to support Pastor Hildebrandt

Indeed, some of the attendees weren’t even members of the church but had driven in from places more than an hour away to show solidarity for the church.

And even if you weren’t a very religious person, you had to be moved by Pastor Hildebrandt’s sermon in which he questioned why liquor stores (which actually used to be prevented by law from opening on Sundays in Ontario) can freely do commerce during a pandemic yet Christians are denied celebrating their day of worship even when safety precautions are paramount?

Grocery stores still open for business

Furthermore, less than a kilometre down the road from the Church of God, the local No Frills store was open for business, with a lineup of consumers outside the supermarket.

We certainly don’t begrudge the grocery store from opening its doors (people have to eat, after all), but if you believe the Wuhan virus hype, there was more potential danger occurring in that parking lot that day than what was witnessed at the Church of God’s parking lot.

Hopefully, there will be no charges laid in the days to come. Because as far as the Church of God is concerned, Pastor Hildebrandt has deemed the service he provides to his parishioners as meeting the benchmark of “essential.”

Sure, you won’t be able to pick up a bottle of whiskey or rye at the Church of God, but as far as many worshippers here are concerned, they are driving away from the church with something that’s far more enriching.