A Canadian pastor whose arrest under the auspices of local COVID-19 regulations received international has been released and reunited with his family as the court order under which he was arrested was rescinded in Alberta.
Pastor Tim Stephens of Calgary is praising God after being reunited with his family, expressing relief that the local regulations have moved into Stage 3.
“Today is a very thankful day,” he told Rebel News. “I’m thankful that the restrictions are done and rescinded, including the court orders that go along with that.”
Stephens also thanked his family and the local community that stood behind him, as well as his legal counsel from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms
“But most of all, I’m thankful for God, I’m thankful that he’s built his church, that he’s sustained our church at Fairview Baptist Church,” he said.
“I’m thankful that he strengthened me, my wife, and our family, and that through this people have come to know the saving love of the Lord Jesus Christ through this. People have been strengthened in this country and around the world, and so for these many reasons I’m thankful.”
He did add that the fight for freedom in Canada is far from finished, as “there is still a road ahead of us for justice, for truth, for our province.”
As we reported last month, Stephens was arrested at his home following an “underground” church service he held that appeared to be happened upon by police helicopters.
Although police did not disrupt the service, they arrived at his home the next day to arrest him for the second time. Stephens had been arrested previously but was later released on a technicality.
Pastor Artur Pawlowski, another Canadian pastor who currently faces as many as four years in prison for holding services in violation of Alberta’s Public Health Act, was found guilty of contempt of court and “inciting people to come to church,” as he told Fox News’ Jeannine Pirro.
The treatment of Canadian pastors has received sharp criticism from advocates for religious liberty south of the border.
As The Daily Wire notes, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley (R) even went as far as to recommend that the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) may want to add Canada to its watch list.
“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,” Hawley said.
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