Persecuted pastors gather for renewal in Calgary

Rebel reporter Adam Soos hears from three pastors — Jacob Reaume, James Coates and Tim Stephens — who were punished for opening their churches during COVID lockdowns.

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Christians have an uncanny capacity to turn suffering into witness, which should come as no surprise from a faith group who calls the day of the brutal death of their saviour Good Friday.

It is a Good Friday, of course, because it is the preface to Easter Sunday’s resurrection.

Christian pastors and their congregations are called to emulate Christ as best they can, and sometimes that means suffering for the sake of others.

Throughout the recent era of draconian COVID restrictions, many pastors and their churches suffered dearly because of their religious convictions. From lengthy incarceration to massive fines and even churches being locked down, Canada’s Christian communities saw it all… and all for daring to open a place of worship to all who wished to come. It was the stuff of Chinese dictatorships, not Canadian democracy.

Their plight did not go unnoticed, people around the world were watching, people who’d stopped going to church paid attention, and the attempts by authorities to quell worship… served the opposite effect. Many churches who put their faith first and stood fast against government overreach were and still are overflowing and have witnessed immense revival, with some pastors even buying new church buildings to house all the new members of their congregations.

Three pastors who paid a price for keeping the doors of their churches open throughout COVID-19 were Jacob Reaume of Trinity Bible Chapel (Waterloo, Ont.), James Coates of Grace Life Church (Edmonton, Alta.) and Tim Stephens of Fairview Baptist Church (Calgary, Alta.), all of whom were on location for The King and His Kingdom Conference at Calgary’s Winsport Event Centre last week.

Rebel News joined each of the pastors for an exclusive interview looking back at their struggles over the last few years, and to the renewal they are experience from it. We also asked them if they feel that similar restrictions resulting is Christian persecution will occur again in the near future, and whether it will be because of a purported pandemic or because of some other new-fangled reason — like climate alarmism or gender theory.

Nearly 2,000 attendees were on location for this Christ-centered conference with discussions ranging from preaching during COVID-19 to prayer and gender issues, and, as many of those in attendance shared, a great number of them were there after witnessing the hardships of these pastors and the public attention their stories drew to the faith.

Pastor Artur Pawlowski, another Christian leader who spent time behind bars for daring to preach and open his church, has his final major appeal stemming for COVID-19 charges coming up soon. To help support his legal fight donate today at

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