Free Grace Baptist Church on Wellington Avenue – seen here on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020 – was one of two churches in Chilliwack that continued to hold in-person services despite public health orders. Chilliwack RCMP announced on Dec. 6 they were investigating. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Free Grace Baptist Church on Wellington Avenue – seen here on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020 – was one of two churches in Chilliwack that continued to hold in-person services despite public health orders. Chilliwack RCMP announced on Dec. 6 they were investigating. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

RCMP submit reports to BC Prosecution Service after three Chilliwack churches continue in-person worship

‘We did take the education and awareness approach… and the violation has continued’ - RCMP

Chilliwack RCMP has sent reports to BC Prosecution Service after a handful of local churches have continued to violate public health orders.

“We have submitted reports with regards to the violation involving in-person congregations from last weekend,” said Sgt. Krista Vrolyk with the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment on Saturday (Dec. 12). “We’re seeking BC Prosecution Service charge assessment.”

It comes after they received reports of three separate churches holding in-person congregation services in contravention of the British Columbia Provincial Public Health Order.

READ MORE: Chilliwack RCMP confirms investigation of in-person church services

She could not comment on which three churches they were referring to, but both Chilliwack Free Reformed Church and Free Grace Baptist Church have held service since the Nov. 19 ban was in effect.

READ MORE: Two Chilliwack churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

RCMP visited the three churches and notified them of the province-wide ban. Each of these incidents was actively investigated by the Chilliwack RCMP.

“We did take the education and awareness approach for the first couple weekends and the violation has continued,” Vrolyk said.

Despite efforts by the Chilliwack RCMP on the first two Sundays to educate and gain voluntary compliance, a very small number continue to hold in-person services in direct contravention of the public health order.

Vrolyk wants the public to know RCMP are continuing to actively investigate all reports of in-person congregations.

The Chilliwack RCMP want to acknowledge the vast majority of places of worship are complying with the public health order.

The current B.C. public health order provides police the ability to proceed with enforcement action in the form of issuing violation tickets or by recommending charges to BC Prosecution Service in relation to offences against the COVID-19 Related Measures Act.


 

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Chilliwack Free Reformed Church on Yale Road (seen on Dec. 1, 2020), along with Free Grace Baptist Church, continues to hold in-person services despite the Nov. 19 public health order banning indoor gatherings. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chilliwack Free Reformed Church on Yale Road (seen on Dec. 1, 2020), along with Free Grace Baptist Church, continues to hold in-person services despite the Nov. 19 public health order banning indoor gatherings. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)