“Praise God…IT’S FINALLY OVER!”: Those were the words of relief written by Saint John, New Brunswick, Pastor Phil Hutchings when he took to Facebook to share his excitement over winning his final fight with mandated COVID tyranny.
In 2021, Higher Life Church (formally His Tabernacle Family Church) Lead Pastor Hutchings, and Associate Pastor Cody Butler, were arrested after opening their church doors to community members longing to worship and hear the Gospel despite provincial COVID-19 restrictions on indoor gatherings.
Shockingly, in a country that supposedly guarantees its citizens freedom of religion and conscious, Pastor Hutchings was imprisoned for seven days, church staff were slapped with heavy fines and congregants faced heavy surveillance by the state authorities when gathering with their family in Christ.
It get’s worse.
After being subjected to such tyranny and trying to avoid the government's indoor gathering policies by having church outside in a tent, the province came after Hutchings again. This time, with allegations of him being in contempt of court.
And if found guilty, Hutchings could have found himself back in a cold jail cell and his church ordered to pay hefty fines both of which would cripple their ability to freely preach the Gospel.
But as the Bible says in Galatians 6:9, “let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” the Hutchings’ and their church never stopped preaching the Good News.
And those of you who donated to The Democracy Fund through our special website SavePastorPhil.com to help cover this church’s legal expenses never stopped fighting for their right to preach either. With your help, the church had many legal wins along the way and has finally been liberated completely by winning this final case.
In today’s report, Pastor Hutchings and Johnathan Martin, the amazing lawyer successfully hired through your crowdfunding efforts to represent Pastors Hutchings, Butler and their church, discuss the precedent-setting win for religious freedom they just scored in the court of appeals.
Chief Justice Tracey DeWare dismissed the contempt of court allegations against Pastor Hutchings on the grounds that a tent could not be “clearly and unequivocally” defined as an enclosed space according to the mandate prohibiting such, and that if she is unable to determine such, it is unreasonable for Pastor Hutchings to have done so as well.
You can read the full ruling here.
As Pastor Hutchings said, “this was a win for the church and a win for Canada.” But the win was far from cheap.
The Democracy Fund is still short on donations to cover all the legal expenses it accumulated fighting for for Pastor Hutchings and his church, which can limit the financial opportunity to help other Canadians who need free legal help defending their God-given rights.
To help The Democracy fun recoup the costs to take on this fight at no cost to Higher Living Church, please donate what you can at SavePastorPhil.com. Donations to The Democracy Fund, a registered Canadian charity, are eligible for tax receipts.