Aylmer, Ont. church hosts drive-in service after being ordered to obey COVID-19 restrictions

Pastor Henry Hildebrandt continued to criticize the government’s actions throughout his message Sunday, but he did not invite parishioners indoors — as he has in the past. 

It's the second week in a row the Church of God has stuck to an outdoor service

An Ontario judge granted the province a permanent court order Friday requiring the Church of God to adhere to the Reopening Ontario Act. (Pastor Henry Hildebrandt/YouTube)

A church in Aylmer, Ont., held its second drive-in service in a row Sunday since getting hit with a court order to abide by the province's COVID-19 restrictions. 

The Ministry of the Attorney General granted an interim order that prompted the Church of God to stick to a drive-in service last Sunday, and on Friday, the court made that order permanent.

Pastor Henry Hildebrandt continued to criticize the government's actions throughout his message Sunday, but he did not invite parishioners indoors — as he has in the past. 

"We do permit gatherings in this house, we do permit it, all we're saying is that only ten of you go in," he said, referring to what was written in an email he had received from the Attorney General. "That's like telling your children they can play in the sandbox, but only with ten kernels of sand at a time." 

Hildebrandt also spoke to those gathered in their cars in the parking lot about how he'd been told his actions and his treatment of police and the government didn't "seem very godly." 

"What's ungodly about kicking over the tables," asked Hildebrandt, referencing a Bible verse. "It'll be more godly once we've got that cleaned up."

Those attending the service responded by blaring their car horns. 

Region goes red Tuesday

Lisa Bildy, a lawyer with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms who is representing the church, has said the permanent order means the church has to abide by regulations or it could be found in contempt of court proceedings. 

The Church of God now has a little less than a month to bring a motion forward to see if the order can be dismissed. 

Southwestern Public Health, which oversees the town of Aylmer, enters the red zone of the province's reopening framework Tuesday. At that time, places of worship will be allowed to host 30 per cent of their parishioners indoors as long as physical distance can be maintained.

There is one active case of COVID-19 in Aylmer, according to the health unit.