Pastor Tim Stephens

Canadian Pastor Found “Not Guilty”

“A Canadian pastor who was arrested and jailed for holding church services during the COVID-19 pandemic has been acquitted of violating the province’s health rules. ‘All glory to God!’ Tim Stephens, the pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Calgary, tweeted Tuesday after Provincial court Judge Allan Fradsham ruled that the government had failed to prove its case. The controversy dates back to church services on February 28 and March 7 of 2021, when peace officers for the city of Calgary cited Stephens for failing to follow Alberta’s social distancing rules. Fradsham, though, ruled that Stephens was not legally responsible for members’ conduct. Stephens’ only responsibility was that he himself followed the social distancing rules, the judge ruled. ‘I see nothing in the provisions which imposed any legal obligation on Pastor Stephens to ensure, compel, or encourage compliance, by those attending the religious services he was conducting,’ Fradsham wrote in a nine-page decision. Stephens wrote on Twitter, ‘In total, 5 health tickets withdrawn, 1 criminal charge withdrawn, 1 contempt charge withdrawn, and now acquitted on these two counts. But I still spent 21 days in jail.’”

“Vindication,” Christian Headlines, Nov. 2, 2022