The Church of God and Pastor Henry Hildebrandt are no strangers to controversy. Over the years Pastor Hildebrandt has dealt with Children’s Aid Society and local law enforcement in Aylmer Ontario where the church resides. With mixed feelings from the community, the Church and its pastor continue to exercise their religious freedom as granted under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
As the covid-19 pandemic struck Canada and our governments sought actions to curb this communicable disease they instituted several laws that restrict the fundamental freedoms that all Canadians enjoy. The Church of God and several other churches across Canada stood up and said “No. This is unacceptable!” Freedom of religion is a fundamental right and a founding principle in the development of this great nation.
Despite the notwithstanding clause, section 33 of the charter, and its clear guidelines on the infringement of our rights, the federal and provincial governments have passed legislation and issued public health orders contrary to the notwithstanding clause. It’s as if no one told the government how this worked. The only power they have is given by we the people when we elect them. They answer to us — the citizens and the citizens have stood up and said the lockdowns, restrictions, and excessive, unlawful, and immoral fines have got to go.
Public health officials, like the brown shirts of 1930s Germany, have declared war on private businesses and the churches of Canada; especially those who hold fast in their right to be in business and those whose belief and faith are strengthened by worship and fellowship.
Across the country several churches, their pastors, elders, leaders, and the congregates themselves have been arrested, fined, and attacked. Artur Powlowski and his brother, Street Church Ministries, Calgary, Alberta – Arrested, fined, and their garage burned down. Pastor James Coates, Grace Life United, Spruce Grove, Alberta — Arrested, fined, detained in jail for over a month, and along with Associate Pastor Jacob Spenst of Grace Life — had their church confiscated and fenced off. Pastor Tim Stevens, Fairview Baptist, Calgary, Alberta– Arrested after an unlawful Emergency Order was altered to exclude the general public. Pastors and elders at Weston Christian Fellowship, Halifax, Nova Scotia fined over $11,000 and their congregation fined $2,422 each for attending church. Pastor Jacob Reaume and elders at Trinity Bible Chapel in Waterloo County, Ontario along with 47 members all fined and their church ordered closed by the courts. Pastor René Mcintyre of Trumpet of Truth Church, Woodstock, Ontario – Fined. Pastor Aaron Rock, Harvest Bible Church, Windsor, Ontario — Fined. Street Preacher David Lynn of Toronto, Ontario — Arrested and charged with Causing a Disturbance after being assaulted by passersby. Word of Mouth Mennonite Church, Colony Mennonite Church, Charing Cross Church, all throughout Chatham-Kent and Essex Counties, Wheatly, Leamington, and Dresden, Ontario has all had members fined.
While these attacks on Christian Churches and anti-lockdown protests across the country is appalling the health authorities and police services ignore the wilful and blatant protests of other religious services leading us to believe the intent is to target Christianity within Canada. Many Canadians see this hypocrisy and can longer stand idly by while this discrimination continues. They are calling for the end of the infringements on our rights.
Pastor Henry Hildebrandt, along with MP Derek Sloan, MPP Randy Hillier, Kristen Nagle, a nurse who was fired for organizing a No More Lockdowns protest, and thousands of others have taken to the streets to publicly state that they do not approve of these draconian measures or the immoral and unlawful infringement of our rights. Pastor Hildebrandt has taken to the political stage to carry his message of freedom and unity for Canadians; he is a powerful speaker who elicits thousands of Canadians to stand up for their rights as well.
Just days after the Aylmer Police and the courts order his church to closed, Pastor Hildebrandt held an outdoor service with several hundred people showing up in support. As Hildebrandt spoke this past Sunday, the message was clear – the church will never be ‘closed’, the church is the people and you cannot silence the people. He talked about how the development of Canada included the right of religion and its fundamental providence in the day-to-day lives of Canadians and Canadian Law.
The congregation and visitors alike shared in fellowship with a short but powerful message of hope and unity followed by a lunch prepared by the congregation. During the picnic of a few hundred, people were hugging, shaking hands, praying together, and meeting friends, new and old alike and everyone there smiled and spoke with glee.
Pastor Henry Hildebrandt will continue to defy the brown shirts of public health officials despite the thousands of dollars in fines and court-ordered repayment of the health official’s legal costs as he, as do thousands of others, believes that Canadians need to have their rights protected and not infringed upon. Pastor Hildebrandt is the leader of the little church that could and will continue to do so.