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)

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: Langley church defies provincial ban on in-person services for a second time

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

A Langley church that was fined for holding in-person services a week ago held them again on Sunday, Dec. 6, 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.

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.

On Sunday, Dec. 6, Chilliwack RCMP said they were “actively pursuing investigations of the in-person congregation services conducted in Chilliwack on Sunday December 6.”

“Although the vast majority of places of worship in Chilliwack and throughout our region are complying with the directions of the Provincial Health Order, a small number of congregations continue to conduct in-person services contrary to the existing BC Provincial Health Order,” the police statement said.

“To protect the integrity of the investigation, the evidence obtained, and the privacy of all individuals involved the RCMP is not providing further comment during the course of the investigation. At the conclusion of a thorough investigation, Chilliwack RCMP in consultation with the BC Prosecution Service will determine the next course of action.”



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

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Constituent does not consider MP’s ‘unclean’ use a slur

Local letter writer said the biblical quote was not an insult to gay MP

A Worksafe BC temporary closure order posted on the front entrance of the Langley Canadian Tire on Thursday, April 29. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
First Langley business in several days hit by COVID-19 closure order

A plumbing company is the latest to have to shut down temporarily

Acting RCMP Supt. Bhatti told council property crime in Langley City took a “significant” drop in the first three months of the year, but the number of mail theft incidents more than doubled (City of Langley video feed)
VIDEO: Property crime drops in Langley City: report

Reduction called ‘significant’ by acting officer in charge of Langley RCMP detachment

Matt Trulsen of Maple Ridge went on from the PJHL to excel in junior college hockey in the U.S. (Dakota College at Bottineau/Special to The News)
B.C. goaltender excels in U.S. junior college

Matt Trulsen, brother of the late Noah, calls community support ‘amazing’

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Ripy Jubbal of Abbotsford has received a 30-month jail sentence for the fraudulent use of credit cards and credit card data. (Facebook photo)
Abbotsford woman sentenced for $80K in fraudulent credit card purchases

Ripy Jubbal and spouse used identities of 19 different victims, court hears

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

Most Read