– FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Manning Centre Builds Dictator Democracy
Christians Expelled from Manning Convention Due to Religious Beliefs
Street Church Ministries is deeply concerned about the roll Christians will play in Canada’s democracy, in the future, if the Manning Centre has its way. The ministry was recently expelled from being an exhibitor at the Centre’s 2010 convention on the basis of their religious beliefs. Artur Pawlowski, the lead pastor of Street Church Ministries stated that he was appalled and shocked at the boldfaced arrogance and prejudice that the Manning Centre for Building Democracy showed by telling him that a political convention was no place for a church.
“What kind of a democracy is the Manning Centre building if they are telling churches, and their leaders, that they are not allowed to have a table at their convention, to address moral and social issues that our Country is facing today, since political events are ‘not the proper forum for a church’? Is not democracy allowing people to share their divergent viewpoints on matters of policy making, that will ultimately effect the future of Canada, no matter what background you are from? I understood that in our country our Charter of Rights grants all people equality and that we are even guaranteed freedom of religion and expression. Surely an organization as influential as the Manning Centre with its stated goal of shaping the future of democracy in Canada, should adhere to the spirit of our nation’s Charter.” charged Pawlowski.
In the spring of last year, Street Church Ministries was an exhibitor at the Manning Convention in Ottawa. This year Street Church received invitations to both attend the event and to once again be an exhibitor at the 2010 convention. On November 11th, 2009, Mr. Pawlowski pre-paid his exhibitor package using the sign-up form on the Manning Centre website, looking forward to a second year at the event. On November 20th, 2009 his purchase was refunded without explanation. After phone calls with the Manning Centre it was revealed that the Manning Centre, now, does not feel that a “political event is the proper forum for a church”. Pawlowski proceeded to call different contacts at the Manning Centre only to be ultimately told by Nicholas Gafuik the Managing Director of the Centre that it was none of his business why he was refused a table and that the matter was considered closed.
The issue was further complicated by the fact that Concerned Christians Canada, a Christian political lobby group, was also refused exhibitor status when it applied for a table shortly after hearing from Street Church that they were expelled, based on their religious beliefs.
“When I heard that a church was rejected as an exhibitor after being allowed the previous year to run a table at the event, due to their religious beliefs, I wanted to see if they would reject CCC since we are also a Christian organization, or if their issue was just against Street Church. I was actually shocked that when I applied to have a table, that my payment was refunded shortly thereafter and that our exhibitor status was also rejected. When I called to find out the reason why, they refused to give me a valid answer but merely told me that ‘my friend had already applied and that he was already told no and that the matter was closed’. I find this response bizarre since I filled in the form for CCC not for Street Church. What an absurd way to deal with things. Christians should, like every other citizen, have the right to speak on issues facing the future of their nation and they most certainly should not be denied a table on the basis of their religious beliefs. It is a violation of our Charter protected freedoms and an insult to Christians across our nation,” stated Jim Blake National Chairman of Concerned Christians Canada.
Concerned Christians Canada and Street Church have spoken with the chairman of the board of directors of the Centre and have made several attempts to contact Preston Manning himself by phone, e-mail and registered letter to try to clear this matter up privately.
“I tried to deal with this behind closed doors, using all measures possible, but they wouldn’t have it. They have have forced me to expose the hypocrisy of an organization that states that it is building a democracy for all when in fact they are dictating who is in and who is out. I have a personal question to Mr. Manning, ‘What kind of democracy are you building? Obviously, not the kind that I would want my children to grow up under, and I pray to God that you would not have your way.”
Street Church has made their letter to Manning public, now that the Manning Centre has refused to change their stance. It can be read on their website at http://www.streetchurch.ca/manning-letter . For more information contact Artur Pawlowski of Street Church Ministries 403-607-4434.
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