Mennonite Church Manitoba's Executive Minister is asking his neighbours to show the love of Jesus in their actions during a difficult time.
In Winkler on Saturday, a demonstration against the health orders was held. On Monday, Winnipeg saw a similar outside the Winnipeg Law Courts while inside seven Manitoba churches were fighting the restrictions and authority of Dr. Brent Roussin and the province to decide orders such as mask usage. One of the churches included is the Christian Church of Morden Inc., which penned a letter before Easter saying they would be open to the public without capacity limits. This church is facing $20,000 in fines for doing so.
Over the weekend, Michael Pahl, the Executive Director with Mennonite Church Manitoba (MCM) and former Morden Mennonite Church pastor grew frustrated seeing people in his communities openly violate the Public Health Orders, claiming persecution against Christianity. The pastor tweeted his concerns.
I, a Christian in Manitoba, am not being persecuted.— Michael Pahl (@MWPahl) May 3, 2021
I can freely proclaim and live out the good news of Jesus, of God's reign of love and justice and peace come near. I can freely love God and love my neighbours in the way of Jesus. ...
"Within our MCM churches, people have been generally positive toward the public health orders. They agree with the need for them and follow them even when they don’t agree with them. This makes it more difficult for our congregations when they see other Christians and churches around them flouting the public health orders or claiming the orders are a form of religious persecution," he says.
The Executive Minister is struggling to wrap his head around people openly disobeying the orders, claiming Christians are being mistreated.
"For myself as a Christian and as a minister, I’m frustrated when I see other Christians flouting mask mandates and churches defying gathering restrictions. This is not the way of Jesus! Our highest act of worship—greater even than gathering together in worship—is to love God by loving our neighbours."
In his weekend tweet, Pahl said he can freely love God and proclaim the gospel, saying loving your neighbours is not limited to in-person gatherings.
"Following mask mandates and adhering to gathering restrictions and getting vaccinated is all part of our Christian call to love our neighbours, especially those who are most vulnerable among us and around us. Far from being persecuted, this is the moment when we are most clearly able to live out the gospel of Jesus Christ through our very actions."