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    Police officers stop evangelical church from holding baptism service attended by 30 worshippers

    Police officers stop evangelical church from holding baptism service attended by 30 worshippers for breaching lockdown restrictions

    • Worshippers gathered at The Angel Church in Clerkenwell, London, on Sunday 
    • Lead pastor Regan King, 28, said he wanted to hold baptism for ‘greater good’ 
    • Two police vans and police car parked outside church’s Mount Zion Hall building 

    Police officers have stopped an evangelical church from holding a baptism service in breach of the national coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

    About 30 worshippers had gathered at The Angel Church in Clerkenwell, London, on Sunday before the Metropolitan Police halted the service.

    Lead pastor Regan King, 28, said he wanted to hold the baptism in defiance of the restrictions because he ‘served a greater good’.

    Police officers have stopped an evangelical church from holding a baptism service in breach of the national coronavirus lockdown restrictions (pictured, police cars outside the church)

    About 30 worshippers had gathered at The Angel Church in Clerkenwell, London, on Sunday before the Metropolitan Police halted the service (pictured, officers entering the church)

    About 30 worshippers had gathered at The Angel Church in Clerkenwell, London, on Sunday before the Metropolitan Police halted the service (pictured, officers entering the church)

    Two police vans and a police car were parked outside the church’s Mount Zion Hall building, while around four officers stood at the entrance to stop people from entering.

    Mr King said: ‘We were told not to have a baptism and police began to block people from entering the church, so we decided to make other arrangements.

    ‘There were 20 people here initially and it built up to about 30.’

    Asked why he had decided to breach the restrictions, Mr King said: ‘Because I believe we serve a greater good. We have a greater good than whatever this is.’

    ead pastor Regan King, 28, said he wanted to hold the baptism in defiance of the restrictions because he 'served a greater good' (pictured)

    ead pastor Regan King, 28, said he wanted to hold the baptism in defiance of the restrictions because he ‘served a greater good’ (pictured)

    Referring to the police presence, he said: ‘This is not something I ever wanted. This is an essential service that we provide. 

    ‘It’s about loving our neighbour, and you can talk with a number of people here who are extremely vulnerable, homeless or on the verge of being very isolated.’

    Police allowed 15 people to remain inside the church, while another 15 took part in a socially distanced outdoor service nearby.

    A 22-year-old man who took part in the outdoor service, but did not want to be named, said: ‘While the restrictions allow people to go to the supermarket to get food, I think there needs to be consideration for spiritual food as well.’

    Police allowed 15 people to remain inside the church, while another 15 took part in a socially distanced outdoor service nearby (pictured, socially distanced service)

    Police allowed 15 people to remain inside the church, while another 15 took part in a socially distanced outdoor service nearby (pictured, socially distanced service) 

    Two police vans and a police car were parked outside the church's Mount Zion Hall building, while around four officers stood at the entrance to stop people from entering (pictured)

    Two police vans and a police car were parked outside the church’s Mount Zion Hall building, while around four officers stood at the entrance to stop people from entering (pictured)

    He said that during the outdoor service, worshippers prayed for the ‘police, press and the people who wanted to shut down the meeting’.

    A Met spokesman said officers spoke with the pastor following reports he intended to hold a ‘baptism and an in-person service’.

    The spokesman said: ‘Officers explained that due to Covid-19, restrictions are in place preventing gatherings and that financial penalties can be applied if they are breached.

    ‘After a discussion, the pastor agreed to hold a brief socially distanced outdoor gathering in the church courtyard.’

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