This week when we arrived to Cavill Mall, both of our locations were taken. So we decided to pray and move outside the mall to preach. That was interrupted by a busker who decided to start setting up his amplifier right next to us. Rather than cause a conflict, we decided to move back to the mall, but both locations were still occupied. It had been this way for an hour and a quarter already. Soon after, one of the locations cleared up and so we started preaching there.
John was the first person to preach there and he did a great job proclaiming the predicament that all of humanity is in, and that is we are deserving of Hell forever because of our sin. He then went on to explaining the cross – that if a person repents and trusts in Jesus, they will be forgiven. After John preached, Ryan got up to preach.
While he was preaching, a person from the Coffee Club came up to asking us to turn the volume of the amp down. So we decided to turn the volume down on it a third and even face the speaker completely away from the coffee shop.
But minutes later the police arrived because that shop complained and they told us we have to move to our other spot, and that we are not allowed to continue preaching here, even though we have a permit for this location. The police officers were not reasonable and were saying that a person shouldn’t have to hear our message if they don’t want to. I pointed out that we are compelling no one to stand here and listen to us.
At this point, I was just holding a camera in my hand and they really didn’t like it. They said we’re not allowed to use the footage for anything. I asked them what law says that. They said, “Look it up.” The reality is this, that if a person is in public, he can record with his camera as much as he wants and do anything with the footage. Another one of the police officers then said that they will now start seizing the cameras off us. That is theft. The only legal time a police officer could do that is if the officer reasonably suspects that the camera is evidence of the commission of an offence.
We decided to move to the other location, even though the police had no right to tell us to move, but we did so under duress. We started preaching at the other location and the police just stayed nearby for the next hour. At one point, the police signalled to myself and Ryan to go towards him. He then said to go with him with the camera. The police officer said, “Bring the camera because I will want this on camera when I seize the camera from you”. So at this point, I refused to go with him. Ryan went with him and the police said to him that we could still be heard at the local shops. Ryan pointed out that the busker that was playing was incredibly louder than we were, moreover, being able to hear a busker or preacher at a local shop does not mean we are too loud.
It was clear that for at least one of the police officers, the problem they had with the preaching was the message. They did not like hearing about sin or about Jesus. The police think that they can do things that they have no right to do. We were gathered lawfully for the preaching and they told us to move. So we have since charged one of these police officer’s with disturbing religious worship under the Criminal Code. Hopefully this will send a message to the Queensland Police Service that they should only act how they are legally allowed to act.
Despite all the events that took place, the gospel was preached and God was glorified.
To God be the glory!
Gold Coast Team (QLD)
Meets 7:15-10pm every Friday night at Surfers Paradise on Cavill Avenue.
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.