Canadian pastor says province makes application to ‘lock the doors’ of his church
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AYLMER, Ontario, April 29, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – A Canadian pastor who has kept his Ontario church open contrary to draconian COVID-19 health rules says his province’s Attorney General asked a judge for an “urgent hearing” to “lock the doors” to his place of worship, as a result of a recent Sunday service.
Pastor Henry Hildebrandt of the Church of God located in Aylmer, Ontario, announced the news in a YouTube message posted Wednesday.
In his message, Hildebrandt went over a letter dated April 27 from Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey’s office to the Honourable Mr. Justice Bruce G. Thomas, Regional Senior Justice of the Southwest Region in Ontario.
In the letter, Downey’s office asked the courts to close the Church of God doors because it has been violating the Ontario Reopening Act.
“I have yesterday received instructions from the Attorney General to bring a motion seeking a finding of civil contempt in relation to events on Sunday, April 25, 2021. The Attorney General would then seek, at a subsequent sanctions hearing, fines and an order directing the sheriff to lock the doors of the Respondent church until no gathering size limits apply to the church under the Reopening Ontario Act,” reads a portion of the letter to Justice Thomas from Downey’s office.
“The Attorney General also seeks in the contempt proceeding an interim interlocutory order directing the sheriff to lock the doors of the Respondent church until the determination of any sanctions on any finding of contempt. If this court is unable to schedule a hearing of the contempt motion this week, I respectfully request a hearing of one hour before this Sunday to hear the above motion for interim relief.”
The letter was also copied to Hildebrandt’s lawyers at the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), who are working the case.
Independent MP Derek Sloan and Independent Ontario MPP Randy Hillier both attended the Sunday, April 25, service at the Church of God and spoke briefly from the pulpit. The pair have been charged by Aylmer Police for attending the service.
Sloan also posted a link to the letter from Ontario's Attorney General to Justice Thomas on Twitter Wednesday.
“Ontario's Attorney General is looking to seize and bar entrance to Aylmer's Church of God, just as Alberta did to GraceLife Church. This isn't about your health, it's about enforcing compliance to tyrannical, Charter-violating government overreach. #cdnpoli #LiftTheLockdowns,” wrote Sloan.
In his YouTube video message regarding the Attorney General letter, Hildebrandt said the province is looking to lock his church doors and fine the church $50,000, and fine him and two other pastors $10,000 each.
“Isn't that something in Canada, in a free country and a Christian country so called the attorney general gets involved when we have a Sunday morning service at our own private property, they are getting involved,” said Hildebrandt.
“I hate what they're doing because it's wrong against God, wrong against the Canadian Bill of Rights, wrong against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Wrong, wrong, wrong, just plain wrong. And the more you oppress us, the more we will flourish. And now they're talking about locking our doors. You're talking about locking the doors of where your freedom came from. Wake up people, wake our people. Where are you going to go with this? Where are you going to go with this? It's a dangerous game. We're playing a dangerous game.”
Hildebrandt said it is only through “the grace of God” that he can fight for his churches right to stay open with the help of others.
“I'm not doing this on my own, I would much rather in my flesh not pick this fight. I have no choice. I don't want to sit behind a camera. I don't want to deal with this. It’s hard on my flesh, but I've got to do it. We've got to do it,” said Hildebrandt.
“Stand up, people. Let's stand up against these tyrants, let's stand up against these tyrants. It doesn't fit with Canada having a church fenced over there, having the church doors locked over here. Let's not go that route.”
At the Sunday, April 25 service, Hildebrandt said he was “very ashamed of many, many pastors in this land,” for being “noodlebacks” in going along with COVID-19 restrictions limiting church size.
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.