Damien Dupont, visiting the Free Grace Baptist Church for an in-person service, during a time when there is a ban on gatherings, speaks to a television news crew outside the church on Dec. 13, 2020. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress)

Damien Dupont, visiting the Free Grace Baptist Church for an in-person service, during a time when there is a ban on gatherings, speaks to a television news crew outside the church on Dec. 13, 2020. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress)

3 Chilliwack churches could face charges for defying pandemic ban on in-person gatherings

Chilliwack RCMP began with awareness campaign but have now recommended charges for gatherings

At least two churches in Chilliwack continued to defy provincial health orders this Sunday.

The Chilliwack Free Reformed Church, just north of the Vedder overpass, held its 9:30 a.m. service, and the Free Grace Baptist Church held its 11 a.m. service.

Neither of the churches’ parking lots were overly full, and both churches do stream their sermons live for those who prefer to watch from home. But both have also kept their sanctuaries open for their congregants who prefer to worship in person.

On Saturday, Dec. 12, Chilliwack RCMP announced that they are recommending charges against three unnamed churches.

“We have submitted reports with regards to the violation involving in-person congregations from last weekend,” said Sgt. Krista Vrolyk with the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment. “We’re seeking BC Prosecution Service charge assessment.”

A ban on gatherings, including for worship, went into effect on Nov. 19. A church in Langley has also been holding in-person services and has already received fines for doing so.

There was a CTV news crew on site at the Free Baptist Reform Church prior to their 11 a.m. service. They spoke with a man, Damien Dupont. on camera who said it was not his regular church. He also told them that the media is being “disingenuous” about COVID-19, and that people are “dying with COVID, not of COVID.”

The reverends at both churches have spoken to The Progress to defend their decision to hold services despite public health orders.

READ MORE: RCMP submit reports to BC Prosecution Service after three Chilliwack churches continue in-person worship


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

News

Just Posted

AW Neill Elementary School in Port Alberni. (NEWS FILE PHOTO)
SD70 chooses new name for AW Neill School in Port Alberni

New name honours Nuu-chah-nulth Peoples’ connection to region

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Ron MacDonald fields questions at a news conference in Halifax on Sept. 27, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Finding ‘comfortable’ indigenous monitor tough task in Tofino-area shooting death

Julian Jones case hampered by difficulty finding a civilian comfortable with privacy protocols

Port Alberni RCMP officer in command Insp. Eric Rochette presents longtime community policing volunteer Louie Aumair with a OIC appreciation certificate. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Port Alberni RCMP honour longtime volunteer

First responders receive support from broader community

The Dock+ is located on Harbour Road in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
PROGRESS 2021: Port Alberni’s food hub still growing a year later

The Dock hopes to open a retail store on Alberni’s busy waterfront

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read