Christ Embassy Sydney pastor, Marvin Osaghae, and 30 adult members of his church have been fined for holding service despite Covid-19 restrictions.
Australian police were on Sunday, August 22, called by fed-up neighbours of Chris Oyakhilome’s Christ Embassy church in Sydney as members gathered for another service despite COVID-19 lockdown.
When police arrived, there were 60 devotees in attendance, half of them children.
The thirty adults in attendance were arrested and fined $1000 each.
The church was also fined $5000, making it a total of $35,000.
They were fined for disobeying the lockdown order aimed at preventing more deaths and reigning in the more than 800 new cases NSW is recording each day.
Footage of a sermon delivered by Christ Embassy Sydney pastor Marvin Osaghae and posted online shows him asking followers to pray for the New South Wales(NSW) government.
He said: “We pray for NSW government, we declare that the wisdom of God is granted.
“We declare that lockdowns are over in the cities of NSW, in the name of Jesus.”
Police shut the church when they arrived.
The incident has left New South Wales Police Minister David Elliott stunned, reports the Associated Press Australia.
“Churches are there to profess the message of hope and love and to have those people endanger communities … is extraordinary,” Elliott told Sydney radio 2GB on Monday.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian called the gathering a blatant contradiction of rules that keep people out of hospital.
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said he hoped followers would reflect on the risk they’d exposed themselves and their children to.
“I would hope that that would be the last time that we see this kind of activity from this group of people.”
This isn’t the first time Christ Embassy will be fined internationally for breaking Covid-19 lockdown rules.
In April this year, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome’s TV channel, LoveWorld, was fined £125,000 for breaching the UK’s broadcasting code by spreading misinformation about COVID-19.
It was the second time LoveWorld breached rules “on accuracy in news and harm in its coverage of the coronavirus”, the UK’s broadcasting regulator Ofcom said in a statement.
The previous incident involved a 29-hour program LoveWorld aired in December last year, called the Global Day of Prayer.