Churches Fined $10,000

Calvary Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, gather for Christmas Eve service, Dec. 24, 2020

“Calvary Church and Legacy Church, both based in Albuquerque, have been fined for violating restrictions on in-person worship services and mask mandates implemented by the New Mexico Department of Health to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The restrictions, effective Dec. 15, require churches located in ‘red-level’ counties to cap attendance at 25% of capacity. After noting that the churches ‘operated at or close to capacity’ during their respective Christmas Eve services, the letters informed them that they would face ‘a civil administrative penalty of $5,000 for operating in violation of the public health order and a $5,000 policy for violating the COVID Safe Practices by failing to wear masks or face coverings.’ In a statement, Legacy Church defended its decision to hold a Christmas service: ‘We have taken the pandemic seriously from the start, and have prudent measures in place. But when governments exceed their constitutional authority and contradict what we are called on by God to do, we answer first to His authority.’”

“New Mexico megachurches fined,” The Christian Post, Dec. 31, 2020

Trinity Bible Chapel in Waterloo, Canada

“Six elders of a church in Ontario, Canada, have been asked to appear in a criminal court for holding in-person services in violation of COVID-19-related restrictions. The elders, who face a fine of up to $10,000, say the action is ‘a violation of God-given rights.’ The members of Trinity Bible Chapel in Waterloo were charged last week under Section 10.1 of the Reopening Ontario Act for exceeding the number of permitted people in attendance–10 people indoors and 10 people outdoors–during a worship service on Dec. 27, according to CBC News. Officers from the Waterloo Region Police Service visited the homes of the elders at night and gave them each a summons to court. The church says no outbreak has been traced back to its services since they reopened in June. But they ‘have heard a plethora of stories from many of our congregants about how they were negatively affected spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and financially during the first lockdown,’ the elders said in a statement. ‘We are peaceful family men seeking to pastorally care for our families and our church in sincere obedience to God. We are not criminals,’ they said.”

“6 Ontario Elders Fined,” The Christian Post, Jan. 4, 2021