Street Church Ministries Pastor Artur Pawlowski is no stranger to controversy. He has been known to Calgary police for years, and was our very first www.FightTheFines.com cases.
Artur says that he was the first Canadian to be arrested for publicly reading the Bible, but that was only the start of his run-ins with Calgary and provincial authorities.
The tension between Artur and the authorities has rapidly come to a boil with added restrictions that are being implemented due to lockdown measures.
Pastor Art previously received a $1,200 ticket for feeding the homeless, which authorities called an illegal gathering.
We hired an amazing lawyer for Art named Sarah Miller, and thanks to her work, those fines were dropped. Also dropped were the mask violation tickets both Art and his brother received, which was fitting since the tickets were issued while Street Church members fed the homeless outside.
Numerous additional charges, including for organizing protests and violating outdoor gathering restrictions have also been brought against Art, but he will not stop feeding the homeless.
Their need to eat does not disappear just because the government declares a lockdown.
This escalating conflict peaked on Holy Saturday, April 3, when armed Calgary police officers and Alberta Health Services officials attempted to interrupt ongoing worship services. Art ejected the authorities, and the video he recorded while doing so went viral.
In response, on April 23, the authorities obtained a special order in secret from Judge M. David Gates that allows them to violate Criminal Code section 176.2, which prohibits interruption of religious worship.
This would effectively allow them to arrest Pastor Artur during worship services.
Authorities then failed to provide the order to Artur’s lawyer, Sarah, and instead attempted to present the order to Artur. But he refused their incursion into the church once again and insisted that they must speak with his lawyer. Sarah Miller has since been presented with the order, and we brought you all the details last week.
Even faced with the prospect of being arrested during services, Pastor Artur has decided that he will not concede his fundamental right to worship God.
He announced that worship would proceed as usual on May 1, and that all were welcome to attend and support him, even if it meant that he would go to jail.
We were there to cover the story.
Watch the full report here, and if you can, please donate to cover Artur's legal costs at SaveArtur.com.