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A summons is also expected to be served on the church organization, police added. The church also held drive-in church services during the spring lockdown, drawing controversy.
The Church of God in Aylmer is led by Pastor Henry Hildebrandt. His son, Herbert, announced on Sunday night that he was the person charged.
The elder Hildebrandt wrote on social media: “This is where we are in Canada. Ticketing churches and their representatives while the airports and big box stores are packed.”
Under lockdown rules, which came into effect on Boxing Day, religious services are capped at 10 people indoors. Drive-in services are allowed under the new restrictions.
If found guilty of breaking the rules, people charged can face fines anywhere between $10,000 and $100,000, Novacich said.
The accused are expected to appear in court in January.
Officers also dismantled the nearby demonstration, removing between 15 and 20 vehicles from the area.
Novacich said Aylmer police have been open about their intention to enforce public health rules in the community, which this fall made headlines after more than 2,000 people attended an anti-restrictions rally.
“We’re at a stage now where if we get a call for service and there’s evidence that a breach is occurring then the officers are laying the appropriate charges,” Novacich said.
The charges in Aylmer come a day after Chatham-Kent police issued charges in connection with a gathering at the Old Colony Mennonite Church in Wheatley.
In the case, officers responded shortly after 11 a.m. following reports of a large gathering at the church, where police said more than 100 people – none wearing a mask – were gathered.
A 50-year-old Merlin man is charged by police in connection with the gathering.