A Kelowna church congregation will continue to worship together, despite receiving a ticket by police. (Pixabay)

A Kelowna church congregation will continue to worship together, despite receiving a ticket by police. (Pixabay)

Kelowna church vows to keep congregating, fight fine after breaking gathering ban

Since the pandemic began, Harvest Ministries has not stopped gathering

A Kelowna church congregation will continue to worship together, despite receiving a ticket from police.

Earlier the Capital News reported that Harvest Ministries International in Kelowna was issued a $2,300 ticket for violating COVID-19 public health orders, for the second time.

Mounties visited the church twice, once on Dec. 6, taking an educational approach, and again on Dec. 19, when they issued a ticket to the ministry representative.

READ MORE: Second large gathering at Kelowna church results in ticket

Senior staff member and pastor, Heather Lucier, who confirmed she received the ticket from RCMP on Dec. 19, said it was expected, and changes nothing.

She explained their non-denominational 100-person congregation gathers two nights a week, split into two 50-person, socially-distanced groups.

Since the pandemic began, Lucier said they haven’t stopped gathering.

“Truth of the matter is, we haven’t stopped. Because we believe it’s our constitutional right to do so.

“We have let our people know that biblically, the bible says don’t neglect gathering together. That’s the high law that we follow. And if there’s an issue… if we have to choose, we’re choosing biblical law.”

Harvest Ministry has been around for about 18 years, and in Kelowna, since 2018. Lucier said the church is just one part of a global humanitarian effort.

She said if bars and restaurants can be open, so should they be allowed to welcome people in, adding the church should be considered an essential service.

“Suicide rates are going up, depression rates are going up, and people are looking to the church. And it’s time for the church to make a stand. And so we are making a stand,” Lucier said.

She explained they’re not protesting for the sake of protesting.

“This is what we’ve done, this is what we always will do. So we’re just continuing on. We’re just doing what we’re called to do, as pastors and leaders. We’re having our church open.”

The Kelowna RCMP called Lucier’s statements “very disappointing,” adding officers will continue to actively investigate and take necessary enforcement action on reports of non-compliance with the provincial health orders.

Lucier confirmed Jan. 7 that following the ticket, the church has consulted with a lawyer, and plans on fighting it in court. She said a date has not yet been set for a court date, and expects to know more in the coming months.

READ MORE: Westlake Drive reopens after truck fire

READ MORE: B.C. surgery wait list getting shorter after COVID-19 disruption

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: phil.mclachlan@kelownacapnews.com


 

@newspaperphil
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lake Babine Nation closure sign
Lake Babine Nation issues COVID numbers update

Urges members to follow provincial health orders

NH representative confirmed that people who received their first dose will be scheduled to receive their second dose within the recommended timeframe.(The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette photo)
Vaccine rollout abruptly halted in Lakes District

Northern Health cites Pfizer shipment delays for the vaccine distribution disruption

This BC Hydro map shows some of the power outages across Northern BC. Many were caused by high winds. (BC Hydro Website)
Power out across much of Northern BC

BC Hydro anticipates some may be without power overnight

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

The B.C. Government increased limited entry hunt (LEH) authorizations of cow/calf moose by 43 animals in 2020 in mountain caribou recovery areas near Revelstoke and Prince George. (Wikipedia Commons)
Cow moose and calf harvest numbers expected by May

No wolves culled yet; cull scheduled for 2021 winter

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
‘You can’t make this stuff up’: Stories from the B.C. CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

(Thesendboys/Instagram)
Video of man doing backflip off Vancouver bridge draws police condemnation

Group says in Instagram story that they ‘don’t do it for the clout’

Most Read