Latest Church of God gathering leads to several Reopening Ontario Act charges

People inside of the Church of God in Aylmer, Ont., on Jan. 24, 2021. via Pastor Henry Hildebrandt/YouTube

Aylmer Police have charged six people under the Reopening Ontario Act following a large gathering at the Church of God Sunday.

The church, which has a history of defying provincial emergency orders, held an in-person service Sunday. Officers were on-site to monitor the scene Sunday in anticipation of the gathering, having received dozens of complaints from concerned citizens.

The Church of God Restoration itself has also been charged under the Reopening Ontario Act, for “failing to comply with a continued section 7.0.2 order.”

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Further to that, police have identified and charged six individuals for their participation and role in the church service on Sunday.

Those charged under the provincial act include a 26-year-old man and a 57-year-old man from Aylmer, a 60-year-old man from Pelham, a 63-year-old man from Perth, a 36-year-old man from Striling, and a 38-year-old woman from London.

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All six individuals have a scheduled court appearance in June.

On Sunday, police charged three people and said they were looking into several people of interest.

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According to police, a 20-year-old man from Perth East Township was charged Sunday after interfering with an officer and ignoring warnings that he was obstructing the officer.

Police say a second churchgoer allegedly charged toward a civilian reporter in an aggressive and assaultive manner. A 48-year-old male from Perth East Township was charged with assault in relation to the incident.

An arrest warrant was also processed for a 52-year-old from Shakespeare for obstructing police, after police say another church participant intentionally interfered with another officer, despite several warnings from members of law enforcement. Police say she has since turned herself in to police.

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The latest incident at the Aylmer church follows another large gathering at the facility last week where four people were charged, including two Toronto Police officers.

In a statement, Aylmer Police had noted that no one at that gathering was wearing masks or following health protocols.

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In-person religious gatherings are currently limited to a maximum of 10 people under the current provincial order, and all those in attendance are expected to wear masks and keep social distance.

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