Trinity Bible Chapel to return to court this week
KITCHENER -- Representatives from the Attorney General's office and Trinity Bible Chapel are expected to return to court this week.
On Friday afternoon, a judge granted a temporary injunction ordering the sheriff to lock the church's doors to prevent in-person gatherings from happening over the weekend.
In court documents, the Ministry of the Attorney General said the past actions of the leaders of the church left it with no other option than to request the doors be locked, adding it's a matter of public health and the court can't stand by while its orders are flagrantly breached.
Under current lockdown orders, religious services are capped at 10 people indoors and outdoors.
Drive-in services are allowed.
In the factum, the ministry said municipal enforcement officers counted people entering the church in excess of provincial limits.
Then, on April 25, documents said fencing, black tarps and recreational vehicles were put in place ahead of Sunday services, blocking the view of the back parking lot and back entrance.
Nine provincial offences were handed out as people left the church.
Ahead of the judge's decision on Friday, church leaders were asked if they would abide by the 10-person gathering limit. After consulting with them, the church's lawyer, Lisa Bildy, told the court her clients want to meet and are seeing great benefits from their worship.
The court order that ordered the building to be locked resulted in a lot of online activity involving the company asked to do the job.
G & A Lock Security, a division of William Knell & Co., received the after-hours service request following the court order on Friday. Not long after, President of William Knell & Co. Robert Dippell said they had a slew of new Google reviews.
"We noticed there was some significant negative reviews, one star, and specific comments referring to locking down the church," he said.
However, there were also a number of five-star reviews in response.
"Which is gratifying," Dippell said. "The community is recognizing that we've been in the industry for many, many years, in our local community."
He said the positive reviews outweigh the negative ones.
"The bottom line is, we're not taking sides on this," Dippell said. "We're just doing our job. We were presented with a legal order and we satisfied it."
He added the company will respond to all reviews and won't take down any of the negative ones, although some viewers have already removed their own. He added they don't feel any animosity and recognize it's a difficult situation impacting a lot of people.
"Tensions are high, we are feeling the pressure of the pandemic and we're looking for relief,' he said.
Bildy said Trinity Bible Chapel expects to file evidence to show they should get access to at least part of the building in court this week, and also plan to cross-examine some of the government's witnesses.