News & Commentary United Kingdom

Police Crash Small Church Baptism, Threaten “Financial Penalties”

Pastor King said he decided to hold the service because he "believes we serve a greater good. We have a greater good than whatever this is."

Metropolitan Police have intervened after a church in north London planned to gather for a baptism in defiance of the UK’s arbitrary coronavirus restrictions.

According to reports, four officers blocked the entrance to the church building after learning Angel Church’s lead pastor, Regan King, was planning to go ahead with the Sunday service.

Pastor King told a local news outlet: “We were told not to have a baptism and police began to block people from entering the church, so we decided to make other arrangements.

“There were 20 people here initially and it built up to about 30.”

Pastor King said he decided to hold the service because he “believes we serve a greater good. We have a greater good than whatever this is.”

“This is an essential service that we provide. It’s about loving our neighbour, and you can talk with a number of people here who are extremely vulnerable, homeless or on the verge of being very isolated.”

Police at the scene allowed 15 people to remain inside the church, while another 15 were permitted to take part in a socially distanced outdoor service nearby.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “Officers explained that due to COVID-19, restrictions are in place preventing gatherings and that financial penalties can be applied if they are breached.

“After a discussion, the pastor agreed to hold a brief socially distanced outdoor gathering in the church courtyard.”

Earlier this month, 71 church leaders from various denominations began a legal challenge against the UK government’s ban on corporate worship.

“Never in our history have churches closed — not during wars, plagues or famines. Instead we have been places of respite and hope,” Pastor Ade Omooba told Christian Concern.

“The government seems not to understand the very important and long-held constitutional position of the independence of church and civil government.

“Churches provide many essential services to their members, local communities, and the nation as a whole. But we can’t be relegated to a social service. The motivation and key to our service is our love for Jesus Christ and our care for the whole person, body, mind, and soul. The very last thing that should be closed is churches, and then only with their agreement in times of dire emergency for a very short time,” Omooba added.

Omooba was one of 25 church leaders who initiated legal action against the government closure of churches during the first lockdown.

According to Christian Concern, “following the application for judicial review, which received favourable comments from the High Court Judge, Mr Justice Swift, the government backed down and allowed churches to meet, providing guidance with virtually no legal restrictions.”

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