UPDATE: Pastor Phil will be going home tonight
UPDATE: New Brunswick pastor arrested for not enforcing COVID restrictions
you can read the full report here.
Pastor Phil Hutchings of His Tabernacle Family Church in Saint John, New Brunswick was served with a notice of motion Wednesday, October 12 in the afternoon by the Minister of Health.
The notice requires Hutchings to appear before a judge tomorrow, at 2 p.m. to answer for allegedly violating an interlocutory injunction dated October 8 [see below]. That previous order obligated Hutchings to follow all COVID regulations in the New Brunswick Public Health Act and the Revised Mandatory Order which mandates His Tabernacle to force congregants to wear masks.
Under the Act, for every church and other faith venues, the owners, occupiers and managers are required to take every responsible step to ensure at every indoor faith gathering that every person in the venue is fully vaccinated against covid-19. For gatherings other than weddings, funerals, and social gatherings, the owners, occupiers, and managers may alternatively choose to ensure that persons in the venues are masked, that the venue does not exceed 50% of capacity, the persons are distanced two or more meters, that there is no singing, that every person in attendance is recorded including row and pew number, and that those records are turned over to Public Health officials.
The Ministry of Health motion is asking the court to hold Hutchings in contempt of a court order and asks that the court imprison Hutchings “if he again fails to comply with the consent order and any other order the court deems necessary.”
The motion also asks for sanctions against the church as an entity.
Previously, His Tabernacle associate Pastor Cody Butler was arrested during church services on Thanksgiving Sunday. The church was subsequently ordered to close on Monday.
Hutchings has posted a video and images to his personal Facebook page showing police repeatedly visiting his home.
Attached to the notice of motion to hold Hutchings in contempt was an affidavit of Allen Dow [see below], an inspector with the General Investigation Section of Inspection and Enforcement New Brunswick — a division of the Department of Justice and Public Safety.
The affidavit included a flash drive containing video evidence collected by agents showing the arrest of Butler and individuals leaving the church. The affidavit noted “the vast majority of which are not wearing masks.”
Dow’s affidavit noted that Justice and Public Safety officials were aware that the church may now be worshipping in a secret location. The affidavit from Dow detailed his suspicions of an underground church service in sections 15 and 16.
Attached as Exhibit C is a social media post, from the Facebook account of Respondent Philip James Hutchings account on the evening of October 10, 2021, wherein he states the following “WE HAD A PACKED SERVICE TONIGHT & IT WAS POWERFUL!!! But I forgot to tell Public Safety that we changed locations”.
I have no first-hand knowledge of where this service was held, however, I have heard rumours that the service was held at a location on Rothesay Road where this church had previously been located. I am not aware of the truth of this, however, I have no reason to believe otherwise.
Follow along on this page for updates on his court proceedings.