Canadian pastor jailed over pandemic violations
Alberta police on Monday arrested Pastor Tim Stephens of Fairview Baptist Church in Calgary for violating public health codes. Guidelines restrict worship gatherings to one-third building capacity, but Fairview shifted services outside after Alberta Health Services (AHS) closed their building and changed the locks. After AHS served Stephens a notice over the weekend, he posted on social media that the police were on their way to his home. Officers told Stephens they were arresting him for holding an outdoor service on June 6 that exceeded size limits and failing to enforce masking and social distancing.
What next? His wife in a Facebook post said Stephens refused a bail offer conditioned on following health guidelines because “doing so would prevent him from faithfully shepherding the flock.” Stephens’ hearing is set for June 28, and he faces up to two years imprisonment.
Dig Deeper: Read Joshua Raimundo’s report on another Alberta pastor who was jailed for violating COVID-19 restrictions.
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