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

Heather Lucier, a pastor at Kelowna Harvest Fellowship, speaks to an RCMP officer outside of the church on Sunday, Jan. 10. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)Heather Lucier, a pastor at Kelowna Harvest Fellowship, speaks to an RCMP officer outside of the church on Sunday, Jan. 10. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

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

The Pacific Rim Whale Festival is breaching for a COVID-safe return in March. (Poster photo by Owen Crosby)
Pacific Rim Whale Festival aims for virtual return in March

Educational celebration scheduled to arrive in Tofino-Ucluelet on March 15.

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

JJ Belanger is running for mayor in Tofino’s March 6 byelection. (Photo courtesy of JJ Belanger)
Belanger enters Tofino’s mayoralty race

Belanger is former chair of Tourism Tofino and current general manager of Crystal Cove Beach Resort.

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)
Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.

Most Read