Dramatic headlines have become a weekly occurrence when it comes to Pastor Artur Pawlowski, from alleged assaults, to attempted arson, to viral roadside arrests. Needless to say, when we heard that Pastor Artur would be returning to his church to lead worship on Saturday, we had to brace ourselves for every possibility.
When Pastor Artur and his brother Dawid arrived, there was a palpable air of joy and victory among the congregants, but it was impossible to deny the underlying tension caused by the ever-looming threat of police enforcement over the prior few weeks. Any time an airplane or helicopter flew overhead, nervous eyes peered upward.
Many were extremely suspicious of a heavy police presence at a nearby community centre, the parking lot of which served as an informal gathering hub for police prior to Artur’s arrest a few weeks prior. I walked over to ask the police about their presence, and they were quick to explain that they were supporting a locally organized bike giveaway and their presence was in no way related to worship with Pastor Artur Pawlowski. I spoke with the organizer of the bike event before returning to the church.
Pastor Artur spoke at length to his congregants, who were gathered outside, about his experience in prison and his legal battle. He also preached on the gospels and joined in praise and worship. In rather dramatic and ‘Pawlowskian’ fashion, immediately as Pastor Artur concluded worship, the sky opened up with roaring thunder. It felt… biblical.
The day carried on without incident; no neighbours were outside protesting or screaming. Other than a likely incidental drive-by, police were not seen anywhere near the church as worship proceeded. We even followed Pastor Artur home fearing that the day had been too good to be true and police would surely be waiting in ambush, but they weren’t.
For at least one weekend, the words arson, assault or arrest will not be featured in the headlines for Pastor Artur Pawlowski.
Despite this good news, we cannot let our guard down. The very morning of Pastor Artur’s worship services, Alberta Health Services changed the locks on the church of Pastor Tim Stephens. The persecution of pastors has not come to an end in Alberta.
Pastor Artur is still in for the legal fight of his life, and he will be back in court on June 28, 2021. If you want to help his battle for fundamental freedoms, please donate at SaveArtur.com.