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Steinbach area church holds indoor service again, breaking public health orders

A video stream posted on the Facebook page of The Church of God Steinbach titled February 7, 2021. The Church of God Steinbach/Facebook

The Church of God Restoration south of Steinbach held an indoor service Sunday morning, in breach of current public health orders.

Currently, indoor religious gatherings aren’t allowed under public health orders.

Global News saw about 30 vehicles in the church’s parking lot and more than 80 people walk out of the church.

On the church’s Facebook page, a live stream of the service was started for Sunday, Feb. 7 with no one on-screen wearing a mask or social distancing.

At least two RCMP officers and Manitoba Justice representatives were outside the church but didn’t appear to interact with church members.

Click to play video: 'Anti-mask group holds another rally in Steinbach' Anti-mask group holds another rally in Steinbach
Anti-mask group holds another rally in Steinbach – Jan 18, 2021

A minister addressed the controversy to the cheering crowd.

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“We’ve got some people sitting on the side of the road right now and they would love to shut us down, but there are some bricks they are kicking against right now. If they could shut us down they would shut us down. There’s a power on our side,” he said.

“People nowadays are trying to shut the church down, let me advance to you that they are persecuting Jesus.”

The province is considering allowing places of worship to reopen at a maximum of 10 per cent capacity or 50 people, whichever is lower, starting next weekend.

The church was being investigated by Manitoba RCMP last Sunday after a video posted to the church’s Facebook page appeared to show a large gathering.

Read more: RCMP investigating Steinbach-area church after video appears to show group breaking public health orders

In the video, a group of about 50 children can be seen singing songs without masks and not social distancing.

There are also other adults coming in and out of the video frame, also not wearing masks or social distancing.

A video stream posted on the Facebook page of The Church of God Steinbach titled January 31, 2021. The Church of God Steinbach/Facebook

The Church of God Restoration has already been slapped with at least one $5,000 fine, while minister Tobias Tissen has been handed at least two $1,300 fines.

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Previously the church has held drive-in services that were in violation of public health orders as well as in-person gatherings.

According to data from the province, Steinbach has had 46 deaths reported for people who tested positive for COVID-19.

The community also has more than 1,100 people who have recovered and more than double the number of total cases compared to any other region in Southern Health.

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