The pastor of Riverside Calvary Church in Langley is speaking out against the online harassment of the business owner who reported the church for failing to follow COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings.
On Sunday, Jan. 3, the church in the 9600-block of 201st Street was fined for conducting an in-person service in contravention of the provincial health order.
It came following complaints by Dena Fyfe, owner of the Buhf Beauty Boutique in the same building complex as the church.
After Fyfe went public about her complaint, she was inundated with negative comments online, prank calls and some critics going on Facebook to give her business a one-star rating (the fake ratings were removed by Facebook after Fyfe complained).
Riverside Calvary Church lead pastor Brent Smith said church members were not involved in the online attacks and do not condone them.
“We are saddened Dena has been getting the negative backlash she has received for calling the police,” Smith told the Langley Advance Times.
“Those comments on social media have not come from our church or our members.”
Smith went on to say that it was “too bad she (Fyfe) didn’t talk with us before calling the police, but we’ve talked since all of this has happened and we’re doing what we can to work together and be a support to her.”
“We’ve enjoyed having her as a neighbour, she has a great business going and we wish her the best in it,” Smith added.
Smith said the church wasn’t seeking out controversy.
“I know there’s differing opinions on the church being opened or not,” Smith commented.
“We’re not trying to take a political stance or protest anything, we just feel that the church provides a support that is much needed in these times.”
He said the church has many safety protocols in place and has limited the numbers who can attend services.
“We have not had any COVID cases connected to the church,” Smith said.
“We’re looking forward to the day when we can all get back to some sort of normalcy.”