Ottawa Protests: Lifting Up Canada’s Divided Capital

By   •   February 10, 2022

A chaplain talks with a trucker who's part of the protest happening in Ottawa, Canada.

As a massive truck convoy occupies the streets of downtown Ottawa, Canada, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) deployed crisis-trained chaplains to offer Christ’s love and prayer.

The mayor has declared a state of emergency as truckers have been protesting COVID restrictions for weeks in Canada’s capital, which for a time partially blocked one of the busiest border crossings between the U.S. and Canada. Emotions are running high and many people are open to prayer.

“There are so many people walking these streets who are seeing us and wondering who we are and what we do,” said Canada’s BG-RRT manager Merle Doherty from the grounds of Parliament Hill. He was one of six chaplains in Canada’s capital, who spent at least two weeks on the streets in subzero temperatures to offer emotional and spiritual support to anyone in need.

“We tell people we pray, and then we ask if we can pray for them. We have not had a single ‘no,’” Doherty said.

Canadian Billy Graham chaplains and local residents gather together to pray in their nation’s capital.

As God opened doors for prayer with protesters, their families, police, government employees and casual pedestrians, He is also made a way for the chaplains to gently, compassionately share the Gospel.

“We were able to share our Steps to Peace With God booklet three times and had one rededication,” Doherty noted. “The man kept talking about when he was a Christian, and our chaplain asked what happened since then and got him to tell his story. Then [the chaplain] asked if he’d like to walk with Jesus again.” Praise God, he said yes!

Doherty was also encouraged by local churches that are lifting up the city, the nation and the federal government to God in prayer. Some are even sending members of their congregation to Parliament Hill—not to protest but to pray.

“Please pray for us chaplains,” he requested. “We don’t know who we’re going to encounter, but people here are so open to prayer, so pray that we would know how to pray.”