RCMP pay another visit to Kelowna church already fined for defying public health orders

Neither RCMP nor Kelowna Harvest Fellowship has confirmed whether the church was fined a second time

For the second week in a row, the RCMP showed up at a Kelowna church on Sunday (Jan. 10) as parishioners congregated in possible contravention of public health orders.

A Mountie arrived at Kelowna Harvest Fellowship just after noon, knocking on a door where an unknown number of people were participating in a church service. Pastor Heather Lucier emerged from the room to speak with the officer.

An RCMP officer knocks on the door where parishioners of Kelowna Harvest Fellowship are gathering on Sunday, Jan. 10. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

An RCMP officer knocks on the door where parishioners of Kelowna Harvest Fellowship are gathering on Sunday, Jan. 10. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

The RCMP has visited the church twice before. The first on Dec. 6, when an “educational approach” was taken by officers, and the second on Dec. 19, when the RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to Lucier for violating public health orders.

READ MORE: Second large gathering at Kelowna church results in ticket

While it is not known at this point whether the RCMP has fined the church again, Lucier said she’s still undeterred, citing it as their “constitutional right” to gather and worship. She refused to reveal how many people had attended the service.

READ MORE: COVID-19 vaccine arrives in remote First Nations across Canada

Lucier said several COVID-19 protocols are in place to ensure social distancing and keep parishioners safe. Asked whether mandatory masks were among those measures, she said it’s “freedom of choice” for everybody who attends and is not enforced. Lucier herself emerged from the service without a mask.

Heather Lucier, a pastor at Kelowna Harvest Fellowship. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Heather Lucier, a pastor at Kelowna Harvest Fellowship. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Lucier said she doesn’t feel as though she’s putting lives at risk by holding in-person services.

“We’ve not had any COVID outbreaks; we’ve not had anyone [become] sick because of our gatherings. So, we’re just going to proceed.”

Heather Friesen, a local activist who has counter-protested several anti-restriction rallies in Kelowna, was also at the church on Sunday afternoon, planning to go in and “expose them [herself].” She said a lot of people who were attending the service at the church are also frequent attendees of the “freedom rallies.”

“What’s happening in our city is very dangerous right now,” she said, after “charming” her way into the building and leading media and a Mountie through the building to the door of the room where the service was being held. “Kelowna needs to start seeing with its own eyes, hearing with its own ears, what’s going on.”

Kelowna Harvest Fellowship is among several B.C. churches challenging public health orders in court The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms announced on Friday (Jan. 8) it would be fighting more than a dozen $2,300 fines given to individuals and faith communities across the province for their alleged violation of public health orders.

READ MORE: Two more Central Okanagan schools exposed to COVID-19 in first week back

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Send your letter to the editor via email to editor@pentictonwesternnews.com. Please include your first and last name, address, and phone number. (File photo)
LETTER: ‘Park your anger at the door,’ when it comes to supportive housing

Stable housing is needed for all in the community, writes Western News reader

Penticton Vees captain Fin Williams was included in The National Hockey League’s Central Scouting bureau “Players to Watch” list released Jan. 22, 2021. (Jack Murray)
Penticton Vees forward ranked among top NHL prospects

Vees forward and captain Fin Williams is projected to be selected in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft

(Oliver Fire Dept. / Facebook)
It takes a town to build a truck: The Oliver Fire Department gets creative

Ingenuity and local connections played an important role in the upgrading fire truck

‘Arthur’ describes the in-person drop-off of a ‘notice of trespass and personal liability’ to Vernon’s City Hall in a video on the group’s website.
Mysterious group serves notice to Okanagan mayors, demanding end to ‘unlawful’ COVID rules

26-page letter sent by ‘Sovereign Republic of British Columbia’

(Pixabay photo)
Black Press Weekly Roundup: Top headlines of the week

In case you missed it, here’s what made waves throughout the week

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Administrative headquarters for the Regional District of Central Okanagan in Kelowna. (File photo)
Tempers fly over a pricey picnic shelter in the North Westside

Lack of detail on $121,000 shelter expenditure further incites self-govenance wishes

Big White Village on Dec. 16. (Big White photo)
11 more COVID-19 cases linked to Big White cluster

Interior Health provided an update on the cluster on Friday

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital surgical unit

Despite 6 South being a surgical unit, RIH said surgeries are continuing at the hospital

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Historic poem is appropriate for new U.S. president

In 1941, Roosevelt made reference to poem by Longfellow

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘It’s incredibly upsetting’: Kelowna health care worker demands WestJet ticket refund

Kelowna woman has been waiting almost a year for a refund on her Kelowna to Edmonton flight

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

Most Read