Pastor Rev. Dr. Aaron Rock has been charged under the Reopening Ontario Act for holding church services last Sunday, and the local Windsor Police Services have informed him that his congregation will be barred from entering their church tonight for Christmas Eve.
Harvest Bible Church in Windsor, Ontario is calling the charge a “national disgrace” and says that “barring Christian worship and public protests is discriminatory and unfair."
According to the press release,
Yesterday our Lead Pastor, Rev. Dr. Aaron Rock, was officially informed by the Windsor Police Services that he has been charged under the Reopening Ontario Act for church services we held last Sunday at Harvest Bible Church (which observed strict health and safety protocols). The fine will be assigned by the court and ranges from $10,000.00 to $100,000.00 and one year in prison. To our knowledge this is the first time that any Ontario pastor has been charged for fulfilling his God-assigned duties at a church. Police also informed us that they will bar our congregation from entering the church on Christmas Eve, contrary to Section 176 of the Criminal Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Further, it appears that the church is not backing down from meeting:
Our elders have met, and we will issue an internal communication to our church family outlining some interim plans to help us get through the Christmas season before we head into the New Year. In the end, we will find ways to fulfil our Christian obligations even if we are forced underground or to practice further civil disobedience.
On top of that, the local health authorities who allegedly requested that Harvest Bible Church be shut down are incommunicative:
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, tasked with enforcing public health measures and providing the public access to information, still refuses to respond to any of our written communication, while requesting that police close our premises. Their lack of service and balanced concern for our people is obvious.