Alberta pastor found in contempt of court, another has jail sentence extended for holding worship services

Pastors Artur Pawlowski and Tim Stephens both continue to be in the grips of a fight with Alberta Public Health after they chose to hold worship services during lockdown.

Brendan Boucher Ottawa ON

Pastors Artur Pawlowski and Tim Stephens are experiences judicial setbacks in their fight against Alberta Public Health after a judge found Pawlowski in contempt of court and extended Stephen's jail sentence into July.

Stephens was arrested for a second time after police used a helicopter to track where his congregation was meeting while Pawlowski made international headlines after he was the victim of a police take down in the middle of the highway in May.

Pawlowski and his brother David was found guilty of contempt of court order by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Adam Germain for holding services at their Fortress (Cave) of Adullam Street Church in defiance of Alberta’s Public Health Act. Artur was found guilty of two counts while David only one.

Pawlowski ripped the Alberta government in an interview with Rebel News claiming Premier Jason Kenney should be held in contempt of court for being photographed dining on the roof of a government building.

"The level of hypocrisy right now is unbelievable," he said. "The level of double standards that we see right now in our system, it’s shocking, it’s heartbreaking, and saddens me greatly. Because what kind of a country are we going to have when the ministers that are putting the orders, they themselves do not care about those orders? They’re breaking their own mandates and they don’t care about the justice system."

Pawlowski has frequently compared what he has experienced during the COVID lockdowns to his time growing up in communist Poland. Pawlowski and his brother face possible imprisonment after their sentencing hearing July 27.

"I need your prayers," said Pawlowski. "Please pray so this evil, this great evil that we’re witnessing in our country is going to be revoked, broken, and what else can I say? We will keep speaking the truth, we will keep fighting for the future of this country so Canada will stand strong and free."

Pastor Stephens of Fairview Baptist Church, also from Calgary learned Monday that he will be in jail until at least July 12 after a recent police crackdown. Stephens was arrested at his home after police used a helicopter to track members of his congregation to a secret meeting spot outdoors. Despite the gathering being outside, officials say it is still against the rules.

Sen. Josh Hawley last week urged the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to consider adding Canada to its watch list due to how the country has treated pastors and churches during the pandemic.

"Frankly, I would expect this sort of religious crackdown in Communist China, not in a prominent Western nation like Canada. Canadian authorities’ arrest of faith leaders and seizure of church property, among other enforcement actions, appear to constitute systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom," Haley wrote to the Commission.


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