A Canadian pastor who was jailed for 21 days for conducting an outdoor worship service in violation of Alberta’s health orders has been found not guilty.
Pastor Tim Stephens of Fairview Baptist Church was arrested at his home in front of his crying children last June for refusing to enforce state-imposed restrictions and limitations on worship services.
Adam Soos, of Rebel News, was at Pastor Stephens’ house when Calgary Police officers arrived and informed Stephens that he was being arrested for conducting a church service on June 6 in violation of health restrictions.
Soon after the arrest, Pastor Stephen’s wife Raquel posted a statement on social media, saying her husband had been brought before a Justice of the Peace and offered bail on the condition that he enforce the public health orders on his congregants.
Pastor Stephens refused to agree to the stipulated conditions because, in Raquel’s words, doing so would prevent him from carrying for the church that has been entrusted to him.
On Wednesday, Pastor Stephens tweeted that he has been acquitted, saying: “I was found not guilty today on two health charges that were tried last month.
“In total, 5 health tickets were withdrawn, 1 criminal charge withdrawn, 1 contempt charge withdrawn, and now acquitted on these two counts.
“But I still spent 21 days in jail,” he added.
Pastor Stephens said this is vindication, not only for him, “but vindication that the government grossly abused their power.
“In all of this, I rejoice since the gospel of Jesus Christ went forth in power, and Christ built his church. All glory to God!”