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Outgoing Letters and Public Statements

June 2, 2011

An Open Letter re: Council Decision to close St. George Street for Ball Hockey Tournament                    

Mr. George LeBlanc
655 Main Street
Moncton, New Brunswick
Canada  E1C 1E8

Dear Mr. Mayor,

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) is encouraged to hear about Moncton’s involvement in youth and sporting activity including Play On! 4 on 4 that sees many in the community get together and have fun in a great Canadian sport. Across Canada, and I understand in Moncton also, evangelical Christians are pleased to assist in this type of community engagement and gladly lend their time and facilities to contribute to such community-building projects.

We have been following closely the situation in regard to the Sunday worship service at Highfield Baptist Church in light of Canada’s historic and continuing recognition of freedom of religion.

We are hopeful that the proposal to accommodate worshippers travel to and from the church building on Sunday will unfold without inconvenience for the congregation or disruption of their freedom to worship. In the words of the Supreme Court of Canada:

The essence of the concept of freedom of religion is the right to entertain such religious beliefs as a person chooses, the right to declare religious beliefs openly and without fear of hindrance or reprisal, and the right to manifest religious belief by worship and practice or by teaching and dissemination. (R. v. Big M Drug Mart – emphasis added)

I understand the service this Sunday is a special service, as the long-time pastor will be giving his farewell sermon, thus it is a particularly sensitive time for the congregation.

It is encouraging when a municipality understands that, as a government body, you are subject to the principals of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and acts with recognition that government may not intentionally or unintentionally infringe on the freedom of religion of Canadians, in this instance the right to worship corporately.

We look forward to a good report on the success of the proposed accommodation plan for the worshippers of Highfield Baptist Church.



Don Hutchinson
Vice-President, General Legal Counsel
Director, Centre for Faith and Public Life

Outgoing Letters


EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger writes regular commentaries about public policy issues. The EFC magazine Faith Today often publishes articles and essays that examine such issues.

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