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SAINT JOHN, New Brunswick (LifeSiteNews) – During a Thanksgiving church service this Sunday, New Brunswick police officers and health officials arrested a pastor and padlocked the church being used, citing that the number of attendees at the service exceeded the so-called COVID-19 “health limit.”

On Sunday, New Brunswick (NB) police officers and health officials detained associate pastor Cody Butler at His Tabernacle Family Church in Saint John for holding a Thanksgiving worship service that exceeded the number of government-allowed participants.

The government then padlocked the church and posted a “closure notice” on the building. 

“WELCOME TO CANADA, WHERE THEY PADLOCK THE CHURCH ON THANKSGIVING,” posted founder and lead pastor of His Tabernacle Family Church Phil Hutchings on Facebook, the morning after his associate’s arrest and his church’s closure. 

“They came harassing me this morning at my home again…after the court told them not to return to our residence for any correspondence. Now Public Safety has issued closure of our church doors even after we complied,” he added. 

According to Rebel News, whose legal team “Fight the Fines” is representing the church in their fight against the recent arrest and shutdown, His Tabernacle Church will be allowed to reopen once they comply with the dictatorial “health” rules listed under Section 3 and Section 15 of New Brunswick’s Preventative Measures – Public Health Act.  

Section 3 demands that “owners, occupiers, and managers” demand each person provide “proof-of-vaccination” before entering any publicly accessible “indoor gatherings” under their purview. 

A small exception is made for churches, that if they cannot comply with the vaccine mandate, they must operate at 50 percent capacity, disallow any form of singing, require everyone to wear a mask, and space everyone two meters apart.  

In even more Orwellian fashion, Section 15 compels everyone operating a publicly accessible facility in the province to allow police and public health officials access to the facility, whenever asked, for inspections related to the compliance of COVID-19 government measures. 

Fielding additional opposition to the shocking action taken by the government, while pointing out the hypocrisy that the arrest, detainment, and closure was carried out in the name of public health and the “common good,” Hutchings continued to blast the government on social media. 


“Contact their office today and demand justice & resignations,” he added. 

Per the church’s site, they offer many programs to aid the public in their faith, and life more broadly, including information and guidance on the topics of marriage, overcoming hurt, faith and finances, as well as family and parenting, and many others. 

The church’s mission statement also explicitly stresses the importance and impact it has on the community, saying, “We spread the gospel and demonstrate the love of God through community outreaches, supporting local agencies and helping other ministries around the world.” 

Since the disturbing event, many people have flooded the comment section under Hutchings’ Facebook announcement regarding the persecution his church is facing. 

“They can padlock a building but they can’t padlock the church. Keep on keeping on,” wrote one user. 

“Sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, if it’s anything like here in Alberta. You’ll probably be standing alone amongst your fellow brothers and sisters. In fact, some of the loudest critics and mud slingers will come from other local churches,” wrote another. 

This is not the first time that the Canadian government has locked churches, detained pastors, and issued fines for public worship, all in the name of COVID. 

At least four pastors have been arrested in Alberta alone for holding church services that violate COVID-19 mandates, with one pastor, James Coates, spending 35 days in jail when he dared to hold public worship services during the so-called pandemic. 

Additionally, in Nova Scotia, Weston Christian Fellowship Church currently faces over $100,000 in fines for keeping their church open and has also retained Rebel News’ Fight the Fines to help mount their legal defense.

As stated by Canadian constitutional lawyer Rocco Galati, who is currently leading multiple lawsuits against all levels of government regarding so-called COVID-19 restrictions, “This is not a medical or health agenda, this is a political one. They want everybody vaccinated for whatever reason. Up until now, there has never been a problem with people exercising their choice.”