Canada News & Commentary

Pastor Tim Stephens Jailed Until End of Month For Holding Outdoor Church Service

"I guess if you are an officer or a politician, you get a pass when you break the health orders."

Pastor Tim Stephens of Fairview Baptist Church will remain behind bars until the end of the month after he was arrested at his home last week for conducting an outdoor worship service in violation of Alberta’s health orders.

In a post on social media, Pastor Stephens’ wife Raquel said her husband was brought before a Justice of the Peace after his arrest and offered bail conditional upon his agreement to abide by all public health orders.

Pastor Stephens refused to agree to the stipulated conditions, as doing so would prevent him from caring for the church that has been entrusted to him, Raquel said.

“[Alberta Health Services] still wants Tim to tell people what to wear, where to stand, and to forbid some people from being the church – the gathered people of God who unite in presence and voice to worship the risen Christ who redeemed us with His own blood,” Raquel said in her statement.

“I asked the police officers if they’ve ever broken the health orders,” she went on to say. “They answered, ‘Yes, many times. So has everyone else.’ Even our Premier admitted it in his half-apology for his Sky Palace ‘working dinner.’ But I guess if you are an officer or a politician, you get a pass when you break the health orders.”

Raquel also shared a letter her husband wrote to their children after his first arrest. The letter reads:

“I have been arrested because I am convinced by the word of God, reason, and science, that we must gather as a church and live our lives with freedom in Christ. You know how we have sought to continue to follow Scripture this past year: to practice hospitality, to meet together (and all the more in difficult times), to speak truth, and live according to the truth.”

Pastor Stephens’ wife said the family are shaken, but their faith is not. Adding, “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.”

Pastor Stephens will remain in custody until his next court date on June 28.