KITCHENER -- Church services at Trinity Bible Chapel in Waterloo are still going virtual, but their pastor is hoping that can change soon.

They`ve put a call out to the government and public health for permission to take steps to resume some form of in-person worship.

The request would require church to be considered an essential service, just like grocery stores.

“We would like to cooperate with them as best as possible and resume our workshop services in a responsible way,” said Trinity Bible Chapel Pastor Jacob Reaume. “Loneliness is a real thing. There`s a number of people within our congregation that live on their own.”

University of Waterloo religion professor David Seljack argues that religion is essential to Canadian society, but that communal worship is not an essential part of that service.

“I know that in religious terms not being there is very painful for some people,” he said. “I don`t know any religion in my experience - as somebody who has studied the sociology of religion, the history or religion, and all the religions on the world - that has collapsed because its members weren`t allowed to come together.”

On Sunday morning, a large drive-in church service was attended by many in Aylmer.

“Charges will be forthcoming,” said Inspt. Nick Novacich of Aylmer Police. “We are going to gather and look through all the evidence that was gathered today and those that need to be summoned to court for breaching this emergency order. That is going to happen.

“People will be held accountable for what happened today.”

The Church of God was warned not to hold the outside service, but argued they were singled out from other similarly crowded spaces like liquor stores.