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LETTER: Restrictions placed on church gatherings are ‘beyond unreasonable’

‘Sorry Dr. Bonnie Henry, you and the government of B.C. have over reached into ecclesiastical affairs’

If restaurants, bars, liquor stores, and gyms allow 100 people at a time, airlines where well over a 100 are packed into a small area without six-feet “social” distancing allowed to fly in and out of B.C., why in the world is there a ban on churches of 50 or less social distancing and following “the rules” not allowed to gather together?

As one who had lost his family through a life of drug and alcohol addiction back in the mid-1970s and was wonderfully saved when I heard the simple unadulterated Gospel of Jesus Christ – the only “support group” that worked for me was getting anchored into a true and living support group for all kinds of sinners – called the Church. Do these recent restrictions want me to go back to my former “support” groups called bars and liquor stores which remain open?

The restriction placed on churches is beyond unreasonable and I for one would call upon all God ordained leadership of churches to open their doors and hearts and start shepherding the small flock God has called you to minister to in person.

I am one who speaks from 46 years of true Christian ministry working on the streets of Toronto, Montreal, Harlem in New York City, Cabrini Green in Chicago and many years in the Republic of Ireland – and most recently pastoring a small fellowship of God’s people in upstate New York for 14 years before relocating here in Abbotsford. Since being here I often find myself compelled to visit East Hastings and walk among and mingle in person with those for whom Christ came to save. All that is wonderful but my life-line is the local fellowship that I attend and gather together with God’s people according to our Lord’s exhortation: “Do not forsake the assembling of ourselves together…”

I assure you that it was very dangerous for Christians in the first century church to gather together for fear of imprisonment, torture, and death – much like it is in places like China, Russia, North Korea, Islamic countries – yet the true believers of Jesus Christ continue to gather together in underground churches – not the state-run government controlled “churches” – as they meet with their Lord who assured those who would be His followers, “Where two or three are gathered together there I am in the midst.”

We gather corporately according to His Word to worship and praise Him who loved us and demonstrated that love on the Cross. How can we forsake such an awesome privilege, but also a responsibility. We love Him because He first loved us. Surely He is worthy of our obedience regardless of the cost.

Sorry Dr. Bonnie Henry, you and the government of B.C. have over reached into ecclesiastical affairs where the government has no business.

Russ O’Neill

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