by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - The Christ Embassy at Blacktown congregation in Sydney, Australia has been fined nearly AUS $50,000 (USD $36,000) for breaching public COVID-19 orders on two occasions, ABC.Au reports.
Christ Embassy at Blacktown is a local branch of LoveWorld Incorporated, which has its global headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria. LoveWorld was founded by Chris Oyakhilome, who has reportedly been very vocal in urging his congregants not to take the COVID-19 vaccines.
Led by Pastor Marvin Osaghae, the congregation of Christ Embassy at Blacktown was fined AUS $35,000 for breaching restrictions at a service on Sunday, ABC reports. Sixty people, including children, traveled to the church from areas deemed to be Covid hotspots, including Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool, ABC said. During a previous service, Pastor Osaghae had told the congregation to reject all lockdowns.
"In the name of Jesus, we refuse every lockdown in our cities, in the name of Jesus go ahead and pray," Osaghae told those gathered at the service.
Blacktown itself has currently been deemed a COVID hotspot, and neighbors called the police to the church gathering, 7News reported. "Inquiries revealed there was no QR code present at the entry to the building," New South Wales Police said in a statement. Hours later, 30 people, including Osaghae, were fined AUS $1,000 each for violating the public health restrictions.
On Wednesday Police again arrived at the church and this time fined the pastor and 27 congregants AUS $500 Wednesday for failing to wear or carry a mask. Osaghae was also issued with a prohibition order preventing him from holding services for a week.