Anti-lockdown politicians join Ontario pastor in Sunday service violating COVID rules
AYLMER, Ontario, April 27, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — In one of the largest church services to be held in Ontario during COVID-19 restrictions, an outspoken anti-lockdown pastor was joined by likeminded politicians this past Sunday in direct defiance of provincial health rules limiting church size.
The service was held at the Church of God located in Aylmer, Ontario, where Henry Hildebrandt is the pastor. He welcomed to his church Independent MP Derek Sloan and Independent Ontario MPP Randy Hillier, who both briefly spoke at the pulpit
“Usually I stick to political things, but on this morning I would like to say that I feel blessed and honored to be here, and I think we are honoring God, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, by being here today,” said Sloan. “And there is no other foundation on which we can build than Jesus Christ our rock, our Lord and our Savior. God bless you, and God bless Canada.”
Hillier spoke next, saying that it brought tears to his eyes to see so many people gathered to worship God in defiance of COVID health rules.
“I don’t believe I’ve ever spoken at a pulpit before. It brings tears to my eyes to see so many people here … and it brings tears to one’s heart just to see the joy and the celebration and the fellowship,” said Hillier. “The last 13 months has been a dark time for many people … but there is [sic] silver linings in every darkness. And for me, one of those silver linings was just understanding how much, how important, and coming to a recognition that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. Thank you very much.”
Hildebrandt thanked Sloan and Hillier for coming to the service to stand with them against the “common foe.”
“It doesn’t matter where they’re from, it doesn’t matter what they are, what their career is, but when we stand to together against this common foe, that makes us one family,” said Hildebrandt.
After the service on Sunday, Hillier tweeted that “over 400 people attended” the illegal church service. It is believed to be one of the largest religious gatherings held in the province, with an estimated 200 cars parked on the property.
Multiple people were charged for attending the Church of God Sunday service, according to a CBC report.
Aylmer police Chief Zvonko Horvat said cops were monitoring the church service, and “observed a large number of participants” in attendance. “This is probably one of the largest services that we’ve seen at the Church of God, and although we don’t have [an] exact count, it would be in excess of 100 for sure.”
Over the course of the last few months, several members of the Church of God have received fines for defying local health orders. Hildebrandt’s son Herbert was charged with obstruction of justice in December.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford on April 16 introduced extended “stay at home orders” that placed a 10-person limit on church service attendance size, closed playgrounds, implemented provincial border checks, and gave police the power to stop anyone outside his or her home without cause.
After public backlash, the Ford government walked back some of its coronavirus rules less than a day later. Playgrounds were allowed to stay open, and police had to have “reason to suspect that you are participating in an organized public event or social gathering” in order to question people.
Hildebrandt, in a video message earlier this month, urged Ford to commit “political suicide” and remove all restrictions in place, which are some of the strictest in North America.
“I am very ashamed of many, many pastors in this land”
Hildebrandt’s sermon for the packed Sunday’s service was titled “civil disobedience” — or “nonviolent resistance,” as he put it. He called on pastors to stand up and have a “backbone” in fighting restrictions imposed on churches.
“I am very ashamed of many, many pastors in this land, very ashamed, because they are telling on themselves that they don’t know any more what civil disobedience is. They no longer know what nonviolent resistance means,” said Hildebrandt.
“The Book of Martyrs over a thousand pages recorded of civil disobedience. Why do they not know that? What is going on? Since when are they noodlebacks? Pastors should be known for having a backbone. Pastors, prophets are known throughout the Bible for people that would be willing to face the governors, the kings, and tell them you are that man.”
Hildebrandt said in his sermon that “civil disobedience” in reality is akin to is obeying God. “The point is, what does civil disobedience mean, you know what that really is? It’s obedience. Civil disobedience is obedience to God. That’s what that is,” said Hildebrandt.
Recently, Sloan and Hillier, along with former federal MP and leader of the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) Maxime Bernier, spoke about their opposition to lockdowns in a gathering in Ottawa.
The trio founded the non-partisan “End the Lockdowns National Caucus.” The group states it is “unified in pursuit of the truth, and resolved to ensure there is open, honest, and public debate regarding the COVID-19 government response.”