Last Friday, another church in Canada was ordered to close for violating COVID-19 restrictions.
Pastor Henry Hildenbrandt, who leads the now-shuttered Church of God in Aylmer, Ontario, shared the news on social media.
“Another sad day in Canadian history,” Hildenbrandt wrote on Twitter. “This afternoon we (the congregation of the Church of God at Aylmer) were ordered to vacate the building where we have met for decades to worship our Lord. To God be the glory, He is worthy of all our praise.”
Another sad day in Canadian history. This afternoon we (the congregation of the Church of God at Aylmer) were ordered to vacate the building where we have met for decades to worship our Lord.— Pastor Henry Hildebrandt (@aylmerpastor) May 14, 2021
To God be the glory, He is worthy of all our praise.#StandWithGod pic.twitter.com/ExlqfNiX35
According to Faithwire, the church had reportedly violated emergency orders that were established during the COVID-19 pandemic. Current rules in Ontario, Canada, regarding both outdoor and indoor services call for a 10-person cap on attendance.
The church had previously been fined $50,000, and two pastors were given fines of $10,000 apiece. Additionally, the church faces $100,000 in legal costs.
After being barred from entering their church building, congregants set up an outdoor service on Sunday but were confronted by police and fined once more.
According to Aylmer Police, the church reportedly had 400 people at the outside gathering.
In a video posted to the church’s Facebook page, Pastor Hildebrandt addressed the recent actions made against the church, contending that “nothing will stop the people of God.”
He added, “Our forefathers, even our leaders of this country, whether it was in Canada or the United States or anywhere else, were well aware that we must have God on our side,” he stated. “But our kings, prime ministers have forgotten. God is forgotten. Religion has been a form for decades and here we are. God has been forgotten and now we have to go through these things. Fences are built around meeting houses, doors are locked, pastors are put in prison all because of what the past has been.”
“We have been praying and we are receiving the verdict this morning directly out of God’s hands,” the pastor continued. “Nothing will deter us. Nothing will stop the people of God. Nothing can hold God back. God is on His throne, and right now, He has the kings and government officials in derision. They have no idea what to do. They’re handling this backwards. Instead of us as we always knew that in Canada we were innocent until proven guilty – now we are guilty until proven innocent.”
Hildebrandt noted the government is “allowing unelected health officials to push our judges to make criminals out of law-abiding citizens.”
“I trust that this will be a wake-up call like never before,” he continued. “This is not the end … this is the beginning of where things are going. By the grace of God, we will stand and stand firm. God is my leader. God is on His throne and God is right. It has never gone well when people fought against All Mighty God.”
Canadian churches have faced recent crackdowns by police for not complying with emergency health orders.
Earlier this month, Canadian Pastor Artur Pawlowski was arrested after holding services in defiance of restrictions against religious gatherings.
And in February, Pastor James Coates with GraceLife Church of Edmonton was jailed for holding services. At the time, he was placed under arrest and was told by police to stop preaching.
In response, Coates said he could not do that “because to do so would violate his conscience and prevent him from fulfilling his duty as a minister to lead his congregation in worship.”
Photo courtesy: ©Pastor Henry Hildebrandt Twitter
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.