Culture Guard executive director Kari Simpson spoke to reporters outside the Riverside Calvary Church in Langley on Sunday, Dec. 6, to confirm in-person services were again held despite a provincial COVID-19 order to the contrary. Simpson said a ticket issued a week earlier for breaching the ban would be challenged in court. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Bad Video Embed Code

Culture Guard executive director Kari Simpson spoke to reporters outside the Riverside Calvary Church in Langley on Sunday, Dec. 6, to confirm in-person services were again held despite a provincial COVID-19 order to the contrary. Simpson said a ticket issued a week earlier for breaching the ban would be challenged in court. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: B.C. church defies provincial ban on in-person services for a second time

Plans legal challenge of $2,300 fine issued in November

A B.C. church that was fined for holding in-person services a week ago held them again on Sunday, Dec. 6 in Langley, with what one witness described as “bylaw officers” observing from the parking lot.

However, no tickets were issued to the Riverside Calvary church at the time, said Kari Simpson, executive director of the Langley-based Culture Guard group.

Interviewed at the church, Simpson told reporters attendance at the morning service overflowed from the chapel into a church fellowship hall in the same complex as the chapel, located in the 9600 block of 201 Street.

While some parishioners wore masks, others did not, Simpson said.

“I see a lot of people exercising their right to wear masks and I see a lot of people exercising their right not to wear masks,” Simpson said.

READ MORE: Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Simpson said the $2,300 fine levied on the previous Sunday, Nov. 29, will be challenged in court, with the church entering a not-guilty plea.

“I think it’s an opportunity,” Simpson commented.

“[Provincial health officer] Bonnie Henry is going to have to justify her position on this. I think she’s going to have real trouble.”

Simpson told reporters at the church that she was not a member of the congregation, but was acting as an advocate for the church, and a “p––d off citizen.”

Simpson said the church has experienced considerable heat on social media over holding services, both for and against.

“Calling it a mixed reaction would be an understatement,” Simpson said, and called for “tempered” comment.

She said more people appeared to be attending the church after the ticket was issued..

Culture Guard is best known for its opposition to the use of the SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) resources in schools, and it’s campaign to have a “Canadian Judeo-Christian Flag” raised at Langley City hall after a rainbow Pride flag was flown.

Simpson filed a human rights complaint against the city to argue the Pride banner “panders to sex activism, bully tactics, child abuse and special rights for certain groups.”

Her claim was rejected by a human rights tribunal, a victory that cost the City $62,000.

READ ALSO: Human rights win in flag fight cost Langley City $62,000

A fine was levied on the Riverside Calvary church after RCMP were called to the Riverside Calvary Chapel on the previous Sunday, Nov. 29, to investigate a report that in-person services were being held.

Cpl. Holly Largy said officers found a services were in progress.

“They [the church members] were given an opportunity to disperse, which they declined,” Largy said.

That was when the fine was issued.

Police made a second trip to the church later in the day, but found there was no in-person service in progress, only a virtual one.

READ MORE: COVID-19: B.C. extends private gathering ban province-wide

One day after the ticket was issued, pastor Brent Smith said the church was not looking for a fight, but feels it has a right to hold services.

“We just believe there has been many inconsistencies with what is essential, and we simply desire to worship our Lord in a safe and Biblical way.”

Online, the church website describes it as an “evangelical Protestant church” that is affiliated with the Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, a California based mega-church with 30,000 members.

Two other churches in Chilliwack have defied the order against in-person services as well, calling it a violation of the Charter of Rights.



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusLangley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Members of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 53 gathered at the Duncan Cenotaph on April 9 to commemorate the First World War Battle of Vimy Ridge. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Cowichan Valley veterans remember Battle of Vimy Ridge

Members of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 53 gather at Duncan Cenotaph

City workers from Duncan were busy recently putting up street signs in both Hul’q’umi’num’ and English. (Submitted photo)
Hul’q’umi’num signs installed in downtown Duncan

Project a partnership between City of Duncan, DDBIA and Cowichan Tribes

Crofton Fire Department members on the scene of Twin Gables fire in February of 2020. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Citizens’ group calls for action at Crofton’s Twin Gables Motel

Crofton waterfront site called an eyesore and a nuisance property

North Cowichan is looking for public input through a survey as it updates its Master Transportation Plan. (File photo)
North Cowichan looking for public input on transportation

Online survey to be held until April 22

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including, YVR and land crossings should ‘not be left behind’

(Amandalina Letterio - Capital News)
Kelowna demonstrators show support for Vancouver Island logging activists

Two Kelowna men stood atop a pedestrian bridge on Harvey Avenue to raise awareness about old-growth forests

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

Homicide investigators who asked not to be identified put up signs Wednesday, April 14, along the Nanaimo Parkway in the area where a body was found March 31. RCMP are asking for witnesses or dash cam footage as the suspicious death has now been ruled a homicide. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Suspicious death along the highway in Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

RCMP identify victim as Randell Charles Thomas, repeat call for any information related to the case

Most Read