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Coronavirus Wales: Angry worshipers beat up police for stopping worship


Disgruntled worshipers have beaten the police after their service was suspended for violating Welsh strict coronavirus rules.

June 81, 81 said she felt suicidal when the service was canceled during the lockdown, adding she cried herself sleeping in her one bedroom apartment when police stormed the New Hope Community Church evening prayer .

A South Wales police officer lit torches through the window of a church in Llanrumney, Cardiff, Sunday night – before asking the pastor, Reverend Wade McLennan, if a disco was going to be held.

Another member of the 36-member congregation told police, "They are going to ask us to stop believing," while another said, "I can't believe you are making the church illegal." This is not a communist China. & # 39;

The 36-member congregation all attended a service led by the Church's pastor, Reverend Wade McLennan (pictured).

"It is incredible that it is illegal to worship our God," said Pastor McLennan.

He said the community was "deeply saddened and upset" after their service was dramatically suspended – something he described as "crossing the line".

“We are told that singing is illegal and only Christians sing during worship.

“When the government tells me that I cannot worship my God in church, they have crossed a line. Freedom to worship is not given by the government, but by God.

“We have conducted Covid-compliant church services and attach great importance to the well-being of all.

“But the government does not understand how important spiritual well-being is to people's lives. This is what the Church does, it caters to the material, emotional and spiritual needs of people in times of personal and collective crises.

South Wales Police asked if a disco would be held on Sunday night after torches were lit through the window of New Hope Community Church (pictured) in Llanrumney, Cardiff

South Wales Police asked if a disco would be held on Sunday evening after torches were raised through the window of New Hope Community Church (pictured) in Llanrumney, Cardiff

"The government can no longer ban worship, and I feel sorry for the police who have to enforce these regulations."

South Wales Police announced that the force had been called up by concerned members of the public.

Police officers arrived in a van, flashed torches into the building and knocked on windows, according to a statement made on behalf of the Church of Christian Concern, an advocacy group.

Pastor McLennan said he let officials in before the service ended. He claimed they appeared "visibly uncomfortable" when they noticed they were breaking up a service but still told worshipers to leave the premises.

The worshiper Ms. Russell said the church was her only point of sale and she was so angry that she could not sleep that night.

Church-goers filled the crowded hall despite the "fire safety" rules that forbade gatherings, including religious ceremonies

Church-goers filled the crowded hall despite the "fire safety" rules that forbade gatherings, including religious ceremonies

"I have to admit that I was contemplating suicide during this pandemic as I was incarcerated for 18 weeks," she said.

“My television was my only connection to the outside world. My church is the only thing I enjoy and I go three times a week. When the police came last night, I was so angry and upset that I couldn't sleep.

“I can't meet anyone online and calling is not the same as meeting in person. The Welsh government has gone too far. & # 39;

Christian Concern said government-imposed closings are "unprecedented in Britain" and that churches should be used as havens, prayers and places of worship in times of crisis. They have been closed since Wales was put on “ceasefire” on Friday 23 October at 6pm.

The 150-person New Hope Community Church typically holds three services each Sunday to address "the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the ward and the local community."

The church said it even checked the temperature of each devotee before entering the building.

Naomi Mclennan filmed the moment officials walked into New Hope Community Church in Llanrumney, Cardiff, and told people to leave

Naomi Mclennan filmed the moment officials walked into New Hope Community Church in Llanrumney, Cardiff, and told people to leave

Naomi Mclennan filmed the moment officers told people to leave.

In the footage, Ms. Mclennan says, “We are at church and the police just showed up.

“They knocked on all the windows and doors, they lit flashlights, so please pray for us now.

“I'm just letting you know this is happening. This is in Cardiff. We're not even in a third world country right now, that's Cardiff. & # 39;

The video shows a police officer telling community members they had reported the alleged violation of coronavirus regulations.

Says one Church member, “This is really strange and I say it respectfully, we love you as cops and we are not people who break the law.

"But if they tell us that it is illegal to worship our God, this is the West, this is not a nation that is somewhere far away."

The officer tells the churchgoers to worship at home for the next 17 days until the ceasefire is "over".

Another person in the footage says, "You're going to ask us not to believe next."

But the officer replies, “As a Christian myself, I won't do that. I have a christian family. My own mother finds other ways to pray. & # 39;

Andrea Williams, executive director of the Christian Legal Center, which supports the church, said the ban on religious services was "cruel".

The video shows a police officer telling community members they had reported the alleged violation of coronavirus regulations

Church leaders agreed to leave the building after the police gave them five minutes to finish their prayers

The video shows a police officer telling community members they had reported the alleged violation of coronavirus regulations

She added, “This church has provided a safe place and family space for many who have nothing else. Banning collecting under these circumstances is cruel to the weakest in the community.

“We support a separate group of church leaders who question the legality of this restriction.

"Pastor McLennan and the members of the New Hope Community Church also have a conscience questioning the legitimacy of this prohibition of worship by trying to obey God in their circumstances as best as possible, rather than man."

A South Wales Police spokesman said: "Police visited New Hope Community Church on Ball Road in Llanrumney on Sunday afternoon after a COVID-19 violation was reported.

The officers followed the police style we adopted during the pandemic to explain the rules and encourage people to comply.

The officers went outside the church to allow five minutes of prayer, after which everyone left.

& # 39; No fixed criminal charges were issued. We know civil restrictions are frustrating and discouraging to people, but if we follow them we can all help protect our communities and the National Health Service.

"Please take the time to understand the latest regulations, all of which can be found on the Welsh Government website."

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