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Canadian churchgoers protest outside prison in support of their jailed pastor

by Kelly Valencia

Churchgoers and Christian ministers gathered outside the Calgary Remand Centre in Alberta, Canada, in support of a pastor arrested for breaking coronavirus rules. 

Pastor Tim Stephens, from Fairview Baptist Church, was detained for the second time on 15th June after authorities discovered his church had been holding in-person services outdoors that surpassed the attendance cap currently in force in the area. 

A video circulating online shows how Pastor Stephens was arrested while his children wept and held their father's hand through the barred police car. 

To protest against his imprisonment, the church organised a rally outside his prison. Pastor Stephens' wife, Rachel Stephens, took to Twitter to call for support.

"Peaceful rally to show support for @tim_stephens at the Calgary Remand Centre this Saturday, June 19 @ 1pm #freepastortim," the tweet reads. 

 

Among those present at the protest was Pastor James Coates, a church leader who spent 35 days in prison and whose building was closed by Canadian authorities after he failed to comply with coronavirus rules in the area. 

In an interview with Rebel News, Pastor Coates sent a message of encouragement to Pastor Stephens' wife: "Just would like to exhort Raquel to look to Christ, just the same and hold fast for the promises of God in this time. And to know that we are with the Stephens family, we are for Tim Stephens standing with him and by him and, the Lord is going to glorify himself through this time."

He later addressed the crowds, warning that "the whole Western civilization as we know it - is being systematically altered" and urged Christians to keep proclaiming the Gospel. 

"The whole thing is going to come down, and we are going to claim Christ all the way to the grave. And we are going to preach the Gospel to all those who hate Him and hate us, and we're going to appeal to them to be reconciled to God. And may God work through His grace by our preaching to reconcile hearts to Himself.," Pastor Coates said. 

Pastor Stephens is expected to remain in custody until his next court hearing on 28th June.

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