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Manitoba says outdoor drive-in church ‘illegal’: Police block parking lot, tow truck arrives

MANITOBA – A Manitoba church group gathered for a drive-in service Nov. 29 at the Church of God outside Steinbach, Manitoba defying a public health order issued by the province and police quickly blocked their parking lot.

In a statement to their Facebook page, the Church of God Steinbach wrote, “Yesterday evening, the Manitoba government deemed drive-in services to be illegal. This worship service will be held in protest of these tyrannical edicts.”

RCMP vehicles quickly blocked the entrance to the parking lot and didn’t allow anyone on the property. Upon the arrival of the police, the church updated its supporters on social media.

“The property is now being barricaded by police. We look forward to your support here shortly”

The church urged its members to stay inside their vehicles with their windows up.

Since the police barricaded their parking lot, the church wasn’t able to perform the sermon in the parking lot as they planned but the service continued over loudspeakers as cars lined up along the shoulder of the highway.

The Church of God was fined $5,000 for holding a service last Sunday.

The Manitoba government has banned all gatherings over five people and ordered places of worship to close.

The Church of God at Steinbach issued a media release and said, “We are guaranteed the right to religious freedom and peaceful assembly in the Canadian Constitution, subject only to reasonable limits. We now find ourselves debating what constitutes a justifiable, reasonable limit.” 

Church representatives say there is a double standard that targets religious communities because there is a lack of restrictions on people going to Walmart, Costco and government-owned liquor stores.

reporter@albertapressleader.ca

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