A group of Christian Evangelicals descended on Regina’s downtown core this afternoon, and according to some, disrupted a usually upbeat farmers’ market at City Square Plaza.
“Nobody wants to come here and be yelled at,” said Ada Bennett, manager of the Regina’s Farmers’ Market. “We embrace all cultures, ages, religions, political beliefs, persuasions. But we want to have a place here that feels friendly and welcoming.”
It’s not what the preachers were saying that wasn’t sitting well with many passers-by – it’s was how they were saying it.
“You could be selling candy, I don’t care. But if he’s going to do it every day at the top of his voice at the lunch hour and wreck everybody else’s enjoyment of the park – it’s not just his park,” said Stephen McNamee, a patron at the market.
Chris Sippley, a preacher from JeremiahCry Ministries, argued, “But the volume is necessary in order to reach past 20 or 30 feet. So if someone’s going to see that as yelling – yea, because if by yelling you just mean loud, then we’re yelling. But if by yelling you mean threatening, then we’re not yelling,”
While police officers were on hand to monitor the scene, no arrests have been made.
“It appears that although the behavior was disruptive to some, it was reasonable, that it remained a peaceful environment,” said Inspector Corey Zaharuk, of the Regina Police Service.
But this isn’t the first time this has happened. Just yesterday, the same group of preachers showed up on Scarth Street mall, spreading their message in the same way.
The Regina Downtown Business Improvement District responded promptly – by bringing a boom box and blasting loud music to drown them out.
“Obviously if you’re running a business, you don’t want your customers having to be verbally yelled at while they’re trying to buy a shirt or get their coffee,” said Judith Veresuk, executive director of the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District.