Christ in the Midst of COVID
In spite of lockdowns, some churches kept their doors open. And that has made all the difference.
It is undeniable that the pandemic lockdowns had a poor effect on society. People were isolated. The fear and uncertainty left many turning to drugs and alcohol for comfort. Many churches closed their doors and went to online services. It is hard to be the church when you are not actually together in community.
Canada is still especially strict with COVID restrictions, especially regarding churches continuing services and remaining open to the public. Churches are, according to the government, “nonessential.” This in and of itself should sound warning bells in the ears of Christians worldwide as a blatant and pointed attack on religion.
One church in Ontario, Trinity Bible Chapel, never did stop services or close its doors. Its decision to disregard the secular government has earned it almost $40 million in fines. The police have pressed charges against the church, and yet it still carries on. The following is just one of the many reasons why.
Jennifer Scott is eternally grateful that Trinity Bible Chapel has kept its doors open. Ms. Scott gave her testimony at her baptism earlier this week. She said: “Before Christ, I was a very angry person, and filled with fear, doubt, and self-pity. I was constantly seeking avenues of filling the hole in me that only Jesus could fill. It began with marijuana and ended with smoking crack cocaine, and intravenous drug use. I was a slave to darkness.”
She had struggled with drug addiction since the tender age of 14. The lockdowns only made it worse. She knew that this problem was killing her. Her son asked her to attend a prayer meeting at Trinity. She asked for prayer to be able to get the help she needed to quit the drug use. The church did what it does best — the pastor reached out to shepherd her and keep her coming to church. She was able to go to a rehab facility, and while waiting for a bed to open up she kept attending church and building that community. Her testimony ends with these truths: “None of these things would have happened if Trinity closed its doors and was solely online. I know for a fact that I’d be dead right now if God had not used this church in my life.”
Other churches in Canada have endured as much, and in some cases much worse. In Calgary, Alberta, Pastor Artur Pawlowski was arrested for continuing to hold services. He had made news earlier in the lockdowns by forcibly ejecting a heath inspector and her armed police enforcers out of the church building during Holy Week Service. He is a Polish-born Canadian who grew up behind the Iron Curtain and whose grandmother personally escaped from the Nazis. This autocratic medical regime that has taken over Canada resembles what he grew up under in Poland, which is a sobering thought.
These churches are under persecution right now, but they continue to do God’s work by ministering to all people. Both Trinity Bible Chapel and Pastor Pawlowski have sent a message to American churches warning that “the enemy is not hiding anymore.” They caution that what is happening in Canada is already happening in the U.S., and American churches need to stand up. Encouragingly, many pastors are heeding the call. Christ is on the move, and those churches brave enough to remain open will reap the fruit.
- Artur Pawlowski
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