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

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Mowi Canada West’s Sheep Pass salmon farm, the company’s final B.C. operation to receive certification from the Aquaculture Steward Council. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is questioning a government decision to phase out salmon farms in the Discovery Islands. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada West)
Canadian Federation of Agriculture backs B.C. salmon farmers

Letter to prime minister calls for federal “champion” for aquaculture growth

Vancouver Island North reported just two new cases last week. (BC CDC)
North Island holding COVID-19 mostly at bay

Just two new cases were confirmed last week

Black bear cubs Athena and Jordan look on from their enclosure at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington, B.C., on July 8, 2015. Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant won the hearts of animal lovers when he opted not to shoot the baby bears in July after their mother was destroyed for repeatedly raiding homes near Port Hardy, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Supreme Court quashes review of North Island conservation officer who refused to euthanize bears

Bryce Casavant was dismissed from his job for choosing not to shoot the cubs in 2015

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

The cost of potentially counting deer regionwide was among the issues that prompted Capital Regional District committee members to vote against pursuing a greater CRD role in deer management. (Black Press Media file photo)
Expanded deer management a non-starter for Greater Victoria

Capital Regional District committee maintains current level of support

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

Most Read