Modern day persecution of local church
Calgary, AB – As you may or may not know, Street Church Ministries has been ministering on the streets of Calgary for several years, preaching the gospel and bringing hope and love to the brokenhearted. Over the years, the ministry has been through a lot.
Here is a brief summary, and it’s a mouthful; they have received over eighty summons and tickets, with officers storming church services, court appearances with lead pastor, Artur Pawlowski, standing before a judge over thirty-five times, receiving warrants for his arrest five different times (each time turning himself in), being arrested twice while preaching publicly, receiving personal visits from authorities to his home, confiscation of Bibles and Christian DVD s during church services, physical attacks of officers on volunteers, intimidation tactics (with photographs taken of volunteers and their vehicles and license plates).
Wow, they truly have endured trial after trial. At times, from an outside observer’s perspective, it looked crazy because, quite frankly, it was. Who would expect this kind of reaction from the city toward a Christian ministry?
Nevertheless, despite the city’s attempts to shut them down, Street Church has been vocal and steadfast for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through it all, God has elevated them, to the point where this church is likely the only church in the world that preaches outside their city’s municipal building four times a week while providing meals and necessities of life to all who come. It’s also amazing to see that the ministry, rather than being shut down, has won victory after victory in the courts defending our rights as Christians to preach, protest, and care for the less fortunate, publicly, and through those victories having unconstitutional laws struck down.
For years, the ministry members were shunned by the churches, being labelled as law breakers and trouble makers by everyday Christians that believed the media rather than calling the ministry directly and asking sincere questions without prejudice. The cries for help and support from the ministry to the broader community of Christ went more or less unheard. The ministry was trying to tell people that unjust acts were being committed against them, that the police and bylaw officers were overstepping their authority and that there was an agenda being forwarded with a goal to shut down the public preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Recently, I spoke with Pawlowski to see how much support the churches were giving now that the ministry had been vindicated by the courts. Artur indicated that, still to this day, there is very little support from the churches. I found this shocking considering the ministry has incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in defending the rights of all Canadians against unconstitutional laws and abuse of power on the part of Calgary officers.
As the Apostle Paul stated, “in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
I ask the question of all who do not stand with this ministry “Why not?”