CALGARY, Alberta, June 15, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) - Christian pastor Tim Stephens was arrested a second time by members of the Calgary Police Service yesterday for allegedly breaking COVID-19 health rules. The pastors' kids were in tears as they witnessed their father being hauled away by cops from their home.
Previously, police had searched for and discovered the location of Stephens' underground church service last Sunday by using a helicopter.
Stephens is a father of eight and serves as the pastor of Fairview Baptist Church located in Calgary, Alberta. A video of the arrest posted by Rebel News reporter Adam Soos shows Stephens kids crying while saying "goodbye daddy," as he was placed inside a police car.
Stephens' wife Raquel told police officers that "no other jurisdiction is imprisoning pastors for breaking health orders in Canada, only in Alberta."
The officer responded, "I'm not going to speak to that, okay," adding, "I would say continue the course you are continuing on, push further ahead, push harder if you need to."
Raquel asked, "How much harder can we push here? ... You want to arrest me and take me away from [my kids], too?"
The officer said, "I have no reason to arrest you, alright?"
Raquel tweeted that her husband is to remain behind bars until June 28, as he refused to agree to bail conditions set out by a Justice of the Peace.
"Tim was arrested again for holding an outdoor service in violation of Alberta's health orders. He went before a Justice of the Peace this evening and refused the bail condition so he'll remain in custody until his next court date June 28," wrote Raquel.
Raquel's asked for prayers so that her husband would soon be released.
"We are shaken, but our faith is not. We are sorrowful, but always rejoicing. As I prayed with the saints tonight, I couldn't help but sense their joy at this opportunity to proclaim the excellencies of our Lord Jesus. In God's providence, Tim's imprisonment will strengthen us in the faith and embolden us to love and obey Christ, no matter the cost," wrote Raquel.
"Pray for: Tim to stand firm; that he would meditate on the love of Christ and his sacrifice for sinners; that he would be comforted in his chains; Pray for his release."
In a statement posted on Facebook, Calgary police said Stephens was arrested for "violating Section 127 of the Criminal Code for failure to comply with a court order."
"[Calgary Police Service] has received repeated calls from concerned citizens regarding church services held at Fairview Baptist Church over the past several weeks. Last weekend, Pastor STEPHENS was proactively served a copy of the Court of Queen's Bench Order obtained by [Alberta Health Services]," said Calgary police. "STEPHENS acknowledged the injunction, but chose to move forward with the service, ignoring requirements for social distancing, mask wearing and reduced capacity limits for attendees."
The new charges follow a service Stephens held on June 6, according to police in the video. Stephens had his church doors shut on June 5, and as a result took his services underground.
On Monday afternoon, Stephens took to Twitter to state that he was tipped off police were on their way to arrest him. "I just got a tip that the police may be on their way to arrest me. Why? I continue to lead our church to worship Jesus as Lord over every earthly power. More to come ... Pray brothers and sisters. Stand firm, keep the faith," tweeted Stephens.
According to a Rebel News report, police discovered the location of Stephens' underground church service with the help of a police helicopter. Rebel News stated that police were seen around the location of the underground service but did not interrupt the service to make arrests.
Stephens' first arrest on May 16 also occurred in front of his family, and came about after he held an indoor church service that went against the provincial government's rules.
He was released after a judge agreed to let him out of jail as long as was abiding by a now-amended May 6 injunction order issued by Alberta Health Services (AHS).
In a statement posted on June 5, AHS said Fairview Baptist's closure was "necessary" because Stephens "has continued to disregard public health measures required by law under Order of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) for the protection of the public."
Alberta is the only province in Canada in which pastors have been jailed for defying COVID-19 health rules. Stephens was the third Canadian pastor to be jailed, following Artur Pawlowski and James Coates.
Stephens' arrest comes at a time when Alberta, under its Catholic Premier Jason Kenney, is poised to remove all COVID-19 restrictions within a matter of weeks. In fact, Kenney himself was caught violating his own rules by participating in a patio dinner with several other guests on the rooftop of a government building.
Contact information for respectful communication
Premier of Alberta Jason Kenney Office of the Premier 307 Legislature Building 10800 - 97 Avenue Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2B6