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Pastor Tim Stephens' family looks on as he is arrested for the second time for contravening local COVID rulesRebel News / Rumble

Click HERE to help Pastor Tim Stephens, who is being persecuted by the COVID police!

CALGARY, Alberta, July 15, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – LifeSiteNews’s LifeFunder platform is launching a campaign in support of Canadian Pastor Tim Stephens, who despite being out of prison is not yet safe from government persecution for public religious exercise and assembly.

Stephens is a father of eight and serves as the pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Calgary, Alberta. He was arrested June 14 for holding an outdoor prayer service in violation of Alberta’s COVID-19, despite the rarity of outdoor transmission of the virus. He was previously arrested for holding indoor church services, for which the authorities changed the locks to prevent entry to the church.

Stephens was released July 2 with the help of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, after the news that orders from the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) would be rescinded and cancelled. Control of church buildings was also returned to the congregants on July 1, but the threat of grave legal penalties still hangs over his head.

“Legally speaking, I’m in a lot of trouble,” Stephens told radio host Mark Patrone on Wednesday (the interview begins approximately 44 minutes into the episode). “I have the criminal charge against me still outstanding, and my court date for that keeps getting adjourned. I’m supposed to be in court July 26, and then I have a number of summons against me for public health violations, and so I think I have six or seven of those, and those carry a penalty of up to $100,000 or up to $500,000 for repeat offenses, so multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars of fine.”

Proceeds for the LifeFunder campaign will go to the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which is representing Stephens. Those interested in donating can do so anonymously by clicking here.

The case has drawn international attention and outrage thanks in part to video of his arrest, in which his children could be seen crying and clinging to his hand as Stephens was hauled into a police car.

“I am troubled that our Canadian neighbors are effectively being forced to gather in secret, undisclosed locations to exercise their basic freedom to worship,” wrote U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missoui, last month in a letter asking the U.S. Commision on International Religious Freedom to consider adding Canada to its watch list. “Canadian authorities’ arrest of faith leaders and seizure of church property, among other enforcement actions, appear to constitute systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

Click HERE to help Pastor Tim Stephens, who is being persecuted by the COVID police!

Through it all, Stephens has managed to find positivity in his ordeal. “The last 17 nights I've spent in jail have given me opportunities to declare the glory of Christ, within and without,” Stephens said during his July 4 sermon. “[There] never has been a time in my life when I've been so hated by people. But never has there been a time in my life when I felt so loved by people [at] the same time. Don't fear men. Shout from the rooftops that Jesus Christ is King of all kings.”

“There’s a number of inmates that I met and became friends with, that I had many conversations with and ministered to, that I wrote letters to so they could have words of wisdom and encouragement,” he added to Patrone. “I was able to get them to get Bibles while they were in jail, so many of these men I’ll reconnect with, and they said when they come out they’re gonna come to church and we’re going to continue our relationship. So, you know, God had me there for a reason, and those inmates that I had interaction with knew that, and they were thankful for that. So I am thankful for the time that I was there, and able to minister to these men.”

Stephens also asked listeners to consider donating to the Justice Centre and to Fairview Baptist Church.