Canadian pastor arrested after holding public worship services

Canadian pastor arrested after holding public worship services (PHOTO: Christian Today)

Originally published in Christian Today

A pastor has been arrested in Canada after holding in-person worship services in breach of public health orders.

Pastor Artur Pawlowski and his brother Dawid Pawlowski were arrested and charged with “organising an illegal in-person gathering, including requesting, inciting or inviting others to attend an illegal public gathering, promoting and attending an illegal public gathering.” 

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Calgary Police Service said its officers had lawfully enforced a court order obtained by Alberta Health Services (AHS) to enforce compliance with Covid-19 public health orders on gatherings.

“This order imposes new restrictions on organizers of protests and demonstrations requiring compliance with public health orders including masking, physical distancing and attendance limits,” the police said.

Video footage of the arrest posted on YouTube shows the two men kneeling on a road during their arrest.

An onlooker can be heard saying to officers, “Shame on you guys, this is not communist China. Don’t you have family and kids? Whatever happened to ‘Canada, God keep our land glorious and free?”

The Calgary Police Service statement continued, “It is important to understand that law enforcement recognises people’s desire to participate in faith-based gatherings as well as the right to protest.

“However, as we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, we all must comply with public health orders in order to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing.

“We continue to ask those who may be considering organising or participating in any outdoor events to ensure they are familiar with public health order requirements and to do their part to prevent further spread of the virus.” 

The arrest follows visits by police and public health officers to Polish-born Pawlowski’s church where he compared them to the Nazis and the Gestapo. 

During one visit in Holy Week, viral video footage showed Pawlowski ordering law enforcement officers off the property and telling them not to return until they had a warrant.

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