Street Advocate Documentary – Movie Review By Craig B. Chandler
Just a few weeks ago I was asked to attend a showing of the Street Advocate on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at the Plaza Theatre in Calgary’s Kensington district. Unfortunately, I could not attend, but, that did not stop the sell out crowd. There was the smell of popcorn, excited chatter and high profile Calgarian’s were in attendance. These notables included such individuals as Ric McIver (Alberta Minister of Infrastructure), Michael Bates (respected Defence Lawyer), Rob Anders (Member of Parliament), Joseph Zwiek (Co-Chair of the Committee to Elect Craig Chandler) and Sandy DeWall (respected businessman) who was also the Emcee for the evening. Before the evening progressed these respected Calgarians and Pastor Artur Pawlowski took turns introducing the film with some words from the stage, then the show began.
The movie entitled Street Advocate was written and directed by respected filmmaker Tomasz Wiszniewski and produced by the Voice of the Gospel Foundation and it really put into perspective the struggle of the Street Church Ministry in Calgary, Alberta. The movie started off hard hitting, right out of the gate and showcased the increasing attack on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech and the problem plaguing modern day society called “Chronic Homelessness”. Pastor Arthur Pawlowski who is the main focus of this riveting documentary makes it clear that “The Clients” are gravitating to Calgary with hope from all over Canada and even parts of the world. They came for the same reason many of you have and that is for opportunity. Pastor Arthur Pawlowski and his family arrived in Canada in the mid 90’s and in 1998 managed and owned a massively successful construction company. This story eventually get’s the viewers to the creation of Street Church and the attacks from Calgary City Hall Bureaucrats, elected officials, By-Law Officers and even the Calgary Police Service.
Although, this review, like the documentary itself wanders in and out of very different time lines, it still communicates, very clearly, the imposing danger of government and its new charter of Human Secularism. The journey depicts a personal struggle where Pastor Arthur Pawlowski dealt with attacks from the state and deep personal tragedies with a sick child right from birth. Yet, it seemed these trials and tribulations was used as a tool to humble Arthur. The pain of possible loss with his son made him realize the sacrifice of God with letting Jesus Christ die, made his troubles seem mild. When Arthur turned to Christ, miracles happened and his son developed Lungs that were not there. In just a few hours healing occurred and his sons Heart moved into its proper place. Arthur talks of his change of focus on his family and proudly talks about how he expanded it. I always joke that the best way to beat liberals is to out breed them. Arthur seemed to be a convert of this philosophy with more children. The documentary shows that Pastor Arthur Pawlowski wanted to provide for his family and he turned again to making money and re-started his construction company and expanded into Real Estate investment. This second company was more successful than the first and his office was in the first Bankers Hall tower. There may be be two Banker’s Hall towers now, but in the past if you housed your business in the original Bankers Hall it spoke volumes. Arthur dressed the part, but, he felt that he was putting himself first by putting the business first. His desire for success even though he gave to charities and to anything his wife wanted in her church was destroying his marriage. His wife was never about money and his wife makes this clear in the documentary where she makes clear the lonely times raising the kids on her own made sense in the long run.
Arthur’s wife indicated that God eventually used Arthur’s stubbornness and determination to break and mould him, but, it was a long and tough road. Street Church was founded and lives started to change and you can read more and see the whole story at www.streetchurch.ca Whether it be helping those on Native Reserves to helping those that the frequented the Drop In Centre, Mustard Seed and others did not or would not. Pastor Arthur Pawlowski and his ministry changed lives. In 2004 thru 2005 Pastor Arthur Pawlowski would seek out those who were lost and forgotten and even go under bridges and provide fresh clothing and delivered food to those society ignored. Then as time progressed Calgary City Hall became an enemy of Pastor Arthur Pawlowski and Street Church. A good point is made by Arthur in this documentary that places like the Drop In Centre would be paid based on a budget per head and it was not in their best interest to lose clients. Unfortunately, for those who rely on the system and tax dollars Pastor Arthur Pawlowski and Street Church were reducing their budget each year by their efforts to feed, clothe, find accommodation and jobs for what Arthur refers to as “Chronic Homelessness” Across from the Drop In Centre is where Pastor Arthur Pawlowski and Street Church initially set up and this coincidentally led to complaints to Calgary City Hall about Pastor Arthur Pawlowski and Street Church . Then the tickets and the court challenges started. Tickets were given for everything from feeding people to unloading boxes and more see www.streetchurch.ca for detailed evidence of this. Each time the City of Calgary was defeated in court see www.streetchurch.ca for detailed evidence of this The unfortunate part of all of this is the City of Calgary ignored each and every court order and By-Law Officers and even the Calgary Police Service disregarded the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Constitution.
Arthur has many advocates along the way including the Progressive Group for Independent Business (PGIB), Concerned Christians Canada (CCC), civil rights organizations and high profile lawyers that have even included Jonathan Denis who is now Alberta’s Solicitor General and Minister of Justice and a former City Councillor, namely Ric McIver who is now an MLA and the Minister of Infrastructure for Alberta. Ric McIver in the documentary does not mix words and says “…people wanted Art to conform…It seems he is getting picked on. What is there to complain about? They are feeding people that need to be fed. Hey are helping people find jobs that need jobs. They are helping people find homes that need homes. They are helping people kick addictive problems that have addictive problems and give a little dose of Jesus Christ while they are at it. I do not see a problem.”
This fight garnered news throughout Canada and beyond see www.streetchurch.ca for detailed evidence of this. This fight also drew attention to the fact that those who opposed Pastor Arthur Pawlowski and Street Church did not understand freedom and / or are purposely opposed to it. People made it clear that they opposed Pastor Arthur Pawlowski and Street Church because it was a Christian organization and comments like “If he preached on one corner and fed the homeless on another I would not have a problem.” The movement of Human Secularism is growing stronger every day and that is not good for freedom.
This is one of the best documentaries of our time and is worth a watch regardless of your beliefs. We need to defend each other and our freedoms so we can all be free.
Craig B. Chandler is the Executive Director of the Progressive Group for Independent Business (PGIB), Calgary’s largest business and taxpayer organization.