After announcing they would stop holding in-person services, and several members being charged for gathering, a church in Woolwich Township is going with a drive-in option.
A drive-in service was held at Trinity Bible Chapel Sunday morning, an option that is allowed during the Ontario-wide COVID-19 lockdown.
For the past two weeks, however, the church has held in-person services which resulted in a number of charges and fines that could potentially cost as much as $10.8 million total in addition to jail time.
The church will be represented in court by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.
"They've obviously escalated this to a point where the implications of being convicted and fined the full amount are beyond comprehension almost,'' said Lisa Bildy with the justice centre. "They have the right to worship in this country and if that is going to be taken away from them it has to be for good reasons with evidence and we'd like to see the government justify those restrictions."
During the lockdown, ten people are allowed inside a place of worship, and drive-in services are allowed as long as they meet certain conditions.
Regional Chair Karen Redman says she is pleased to see the church making a change.
"We understand that spiritual guidance in the faith community is very important to a lot of people in Waterloo Region," she said. "It never was to shut down the service, it was to make sure services were complying with health guidelines.
"It really is a concern province-wide that we look at people adhering to the public guidelines."
Trinity Bible Chapel will continue with drive-in services for the duration of the lockdown, which is supposed to go until Jan. 23.
Bildy adds that, due to backlogs in the system, it could be some time before the charges are in court.