We recently flew out to St. John, New Brunswick to bring you an update on the legal battle and court appeal win that Rebel News supporters helped make happen, for two pastors who have been persecuted for standing in the gap for religious freedoms in Canada.
Pastor Phil Hutchings and Pastor Cody Butler, from St. John’s His Tabernacle Family Church, were both arrested last year after the province of New Brunswick was unable to compel them to follow all COVID-19 regulations. Pastor Cody, the church's youth pastor, was apprehended on Thanksgiving Sunday, and while he was later released, the same couldn’t be said for the church's lead pastor, Phil, who ended up being imprisoned and trapped in solitary confinement for seven days.
The invasive government restrictions that the pastors and churchgoers could not morally follow included forbidding them from worshiping together in song, tracking and tracing their congregants and forcing people to wear a face covering in order to experience the gospel in person. The church's building doors were also ordered to be shut, but the iron fist ruling never stopped the church body from growing with more people desiring to hear the gospel in person.
“We just had church literally in the cold” said Pastor Phil when I asked him and his wife Jamie Hutchings how the church coped with having their doors shut. “It went from stilettos to snow pants” quipped Jamie with a smile. New Brunswick averages around -9C in its colder months and can get as low as -14C, so the congregation set up a tent to cover the equipment needed to run a service. It was that tent’s four walls that was then used as an excuse to put Pastor Phil and his church in contempt of conditions.
“They wanted to put me away for 90 days and fine us up to $70,000 in fines” explained Pastor Phil. That punishment never happened, thanks to Rebel News supporters who helped get behind His Tabernacle Family Church by donating to The Democracy Fund charity, which has taken on their legal fight at no expense to the churchgoers. The Democracy Fund hired the church a top notch lawyer named Johnathan Martin who filed an appeal — and won!
“That was a strong win for us, we were excited about that, and that’s a win for Canada,” said Pastor Phil. Despite being persecuted for their faith, both Pastors Phil and Cody are optimistic about what is in store for Canada. “I honestly feel like Canada’s best days are not behind us. Even in the midst of the crazy, I feel like God’s still at work,” was just one of the encouraging messages you can hear from the pastor by clicking on the full video report.
Unfortunately, this church's legal battles for following their convictions to God over and above the state, are far from over. If you’re able to donate towards their ongoing legal fees, please do so at SavePastorPhil.com.