The Good News Chapel (GNC) opened on Sunday for the regular mass service. Over 100 members attended the service.
There was no police presence on site before, during or after the service. No tickets were issued.
Members were invited to attend the service last week, fully aware of the government restrictions.
“It is important for us to gather, in worship and in fellowship. Museums are open, Costco is open, Home Depot is open — we are prepared to follow the same protocols that they are following. We need to have the exact same consideration (from the government) in the church.The guidelines that have been made now are illegal according to our constitution. It is time that we open up. The church is essential,” Pastor Steve Gesualdi said to The Suburban in an exclusive interview.
Chapel members were seen outside demonstrating for the past four weeks. This Sunday, on one of the coldest days so far this winter season — the GNC administration decided that it was time to bring in the members.
Accoording to Mark Sorella, GNC Board Secretary, considering that Cegeps and Universities as well as schools are open and so long as members are socially distanced, wearing masks and sanitizing — there is no reason for the church to be closed. “What we don’t agree with are the restrictions that the government has applied to churches.”
“There are definitely a lot of mixed emotions but I am convinced that church is an essential service. We see people at Costco’s and Walmarts — to me the church is as essential as getting food from a grocery store.” GNC member Daniel said to The Suburban.
During the service, many GNC members expressed their joyful emotions with the return of the Sunday service. Several were seen weeping and smiling joyfully. The ambiance was jovial with uplifting live music and members cheered as Pastor Steve walked onto the stage.
“Religious leaders are expected to lead by example and to encourage their worshippers to abide by the rules concerning masks, hand washing and physical distancing.” Premier Francois Legault said on Feb. 8th during the major COVID-related announcement where churches were given permission for 10 attendees at each service.
According to GNC church member, Lucy Conte, approximately 250 people attend the Sunday service at GNC each Sunday. A member could attend only once in 6 months if only ten people were allowed at a time she added.
“Any limitation is not sufficient, it is not good for the government to impose any regulation on the church.” Pastor Steve said to The Suburban. “We need to pray together now more than ever before.”