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FREE GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH

45592 Wellington Avenue, Chilliwack, B.C. V2P 2E6


(604) 795-2686 / www.freegrace.ca

Dear Mr. Henderson,

I wanted to respond to your email dated Nov 25th, 2020 regarding our church’s decision to meet in light of the recent
prohibition given by the Provincial Health Officer (dated Nov 19th, 2020). The rationale for this decision is threefold:

1. Our church respects the civil authority and we understand that they have a job to do. We have sought to comply
with the previous orders and have done so for eight months, but believe this recent prohibition restricting religious
worship exceeds the Province’s authority under God and under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

2. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms secures the freedom of conscience and religion in section 2. (a),
“Fundamental Freedoms.” We have not and would not compel persons to attend our church during a pandemic, but at
the same time, we cannot, in good conscience, prohibit the freedom of religion that the Charter protects.

3. The identification of what is and what is not an “essential service” is certainly open for interpretation, but in short,
we believe that churches are essential, and that Christians are commanded by God to attend public worship. It has
been argued that churches can livestream services and this should suffice; however, grocery stores provide service
through online means, and nevertheless, persons still attend grocery stores because online shopping does not provide
everything that an “in-person” shopping experience can provide. In a much greater way, the same is true for the church,
especially in a time of pandemic when depression, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic abuse, and other mental health
challenges are soaring. It is precisely at such a time that the church, as church, is extremely beneficial to a Province
undergoing a health crisis, as health is not strictly limited to the physical, but also includes the emotional, mental, and
spiritual aspects of personhood.

Sincerely,

James P. Butler, Pastor

“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”