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Believers in Canada are paying a high price for keeping the church doors open.
Trinity Bible Chapel is facing up to $170,000 in fines for holding in-person, unmasked services, violating the government’s lockdown mandate which prohibited churches from gathering in crowds larger than 10 people, according to reports.
They were charged $83,000 for contempt for gathering in person on January 24, 2021.
“Pastor Will and I each owe 5,000. Paster Randy owes $4,000. Each of the other elders owe $3,000. The church itself owes $15,000. And we have been ordered to pay $45,000 to cover the legal fees of the Ministry of the Attorney General,” wrote one board member on the January Court ruling.
The church counted the cost of communal worship and continued meeting, resulting in another court ruling against them on Tuesday, July 27. They were ordered to pay a new fine of $85,000.
The church website explained: “On April 25, 2021, we held another extravagant worship service. That service was held in contempt of another court order. We were sentenced today. Here’s how it breaks down: both Pastor Will and I owe $10,000 each, the other elders owe $7,500 each, and the church itself owes $35,000. The judge will review the Ministry of the Attorney General’s legal costs and then order us to pay legal costs at a later date. So in total we owe $85,000 plus legal costs.”
Pastor Jacob Rheaume says Jesus is worth the costs of keeping the church lights on during the pandemic.
“When this is all added up, we’re gonna owe a lot of money. But Jesus is worth it. I’ve heard some people say crazy things like, ‘Giving up our worship services is a small price right now, just a little inconvenience,’” wrote online. “The problem with that is that worship services are not ours to give up. They belong to Jesus. He purchased His worship with the price of His own blood. That mindset only reveals how man-centered many are in their view of church and worship. Really and truly, the mindset should be my money and my comfort and my life are small prices to pay right now to worship Jesus. He’s worth it.”