Timeline: Woolwich Township church continues operating under lockdown
KITCHENER -- A church in Woolwich Township is facing multiple charges for gatherings exceeding the provincial limit over the past few weeks.
Under lockdown orders, indoor religious services can have a maximum of 10 people.
The church shifted to drive-in services following charges at the end of December and beginning of January. However, they reopened for in-person services on Sunday.
A pre-judicial court date is scheduled for Feb. 26.
Here's a look at what's happened at the church:
Dec. 31: Waterloo regional police announce charges for six members of Trinity Bible Chapel under the Reopening Ontario Act. The charges were laid for a gathering exceeding the limit under the act.
Jan. 7: Nine more charges are laid for gatherings at Trinity Bible Church. Six people and the church corporation itself were changed.
Jan. 8: Trinity Bible Chapel says it will now only allow 10 people to come to services. Instead, they will offer drive-in services.
Jan. 10: Trinity Bible Chapel holds its first drive-in service following the charges.
Jan. 22: Pastor Jacob Reaume says the church will open for in-person services again on Sunday, offering an "open invitation" to anyone who wants to come.
Jan. 23: The Attorney General obtained a court order for the church, saying opening under the lockdown would put them at risk being them being held in contempt of court.
Jan. 24: Trinity Bible Chapel opens for two in-person services, despite a court order from the Attorney General. Many of the estimated 300 to 600 people going into the church weren't wearing face masks.
Jan. 25: Police Chief Bryan Larkin speaks about the church services going ahead despite the provincial lockdown, calling it a "complex issue" and a "complicated process." He says police can't prevent actions and lawfully have to allow access before they can shut things down.
Jan. 26: The church's lawyer says Trinity Bible Chapel and its leadership have been served a motion for a contempt order.
Jan. 27: The church's lawyer says they will suspend in-person services for the duration of the lockdown order. The judge made an oral finding of guilt on Wednesday morning, with a written reasoning to follow. The region also laid a total of nine charges against the church.