This church is about 30 minutes from us. It is the church that had its pastor jailed for 5 weeks because he couldn’t agree to bail conditions that violated his conscience (ironically, the consequences for his charges would have merited only fines, not imprisonment). Basically, the church chose not to comply with the unscriptural demands of the health services to limit attendance to 15% capacity (which practically means no physical distancing), and they refuse to enforce masking (because it is a personal health decision). The last few weeks, they have had capacity crowds, with more listening from outside. The police came at dawn and put 3 layers of fencing around the building. Multiple RCMP officers and private security are on site 24 hours to keep anyone approaching the building.
Pray for them - and for us! My church is one of about 20 in Alberta that have (very publicly) stated they are open for all who want to attend - no capacity limits. There are more that think the same, but they’re staying under the radar so far (as we were doing for several months). Our church had 50 visitors on Easter Sunday because we were open (for context, our core group through Covid was 60-80). Some came from churches who wouldn’t let them in the doors without a mask, despite legitimate medical issues. Others are coming because they feel convicted by God to meet together together with his people again, and their churches are fully virtual. We have been reported twice by local snitches, once for our Easter Sunday morning service, and we imminently expect a visit from health inspectors and the RCMP.
It’s unreal, you know. Our pastor talked to us at Bible study about what steps we would be taking when (not if) police came to building. I can’t believe we actually had that conversation in Canada - in North America. As treasurer, I’ve taken steps to ensure continuity of the office operations should we be locked out of the building. Today I moved a batch of extra hymnals offsite so we’ll have them if we lose access. I know I shouldn’t be, but I’m scared every time I go to church on Sunday.
Churches are so split over this issue. Many churches believe GraceLife should be following the government, period. Others, like us, believe that God did not grant the government authority over how the church worships, and we furthermore feel that they have not proven the necessity of these rules that override our charter freedoms of religion, assembly, and association. Every time a Covid case comes to court in Alberta, the charges are dropped by the Crown as soon as they are requested to provide the burden of proof (to prove that the restrictions are warranted by circumstances significant that enough to override our Charter of Rights). Many congregations are split over this issue. The funny thing is that many unbelievers are standing up in support of the churches for this. They see the larger implications of the government’s actions. Many who haven’t been in church for years say they will visit GraceLife in support!
Have to say that the Reformed churches are putting us to shame here. I don’t agree with their doctrine, but their belief in the sovereignty of God has them leading the charge in standing up against these tyrannies.
If you want a good source to research more about this case, check out rebelnews.com. You should check out their video from the first protest at the Edmonton Remand Centre in support of Pr. Coates when he was first out in jail. Best. Protest. Ever. Speakers were basically pastors giving five minute sermons, and we sang hymns. The group you hear a couple times on camera singing really well in harmony is actually our church group. 😉
Edited to add: this guy is a member of GraceLife. He’s been live-streaming a lot from site. https://m.facebook.com/Devin-Davis-101163168761777/
Governmental Liberalism - The government putting its hand in your pocket to forcibly take your wealth for distribution to those whom they deem the worthy "poor" (after pocketing some themselves).
Biblical Liberality - You putting your own hand in your pocket to willingly and lovingly take your wealth for distribution to those whom the Holy Spirit directs you as the "poor and needy" (not the lazy and immoral).
Our Lord Jesus Christ and God's Holy Word command Biblical Liberality, but do NOT support governmental liberalism. Those who use the commands of Biblical Liberality as a defense for governmental liberalism demonstrate their Biblical and spiritual ignorance.
(By the way, I am pretty sure that Bouncing Bill is still not using the King James translation for his Bible quotations.)
Christian Charity given willingly and directly to noble causes is not the same as compulsory giving to the government who then chooses for you where and how money is spent. Jesus asks you to do it directly and willingly. The politician seeks forced payment, forces you to give them your money while promising to only give some of it to the poor and even then to things which are appalling and poorly managed, then many squander what you give them to the point there is never enough for the original cause, so then demands more money which they then take by force from you. NOT. THE. SAME.
We have a Facebook page that I post on a few times a week. Most of our members do not have Facebook pages, so it's hard to get followers. It is growing slowly, though.
We don't have a website yet, but the tech guy in the church that founded ours has volunteered to create one for us.
That's about it. I did start a Twitter account but don't use it. I know I should, though.