CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS OTTAWA
Calgary’s King’s Glory Fellowship lost its charitable status for failing to file its annual financial report, according to an official from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Its controversial lay pastor Artur Pawlowski admitted he did miss the deadline. He believes, however, King’s Glory Fellowship’s charitable status has not been restored because of his vocal defence of Christian teaching.
Last October, King’s Glory Fellowship received a letter from Dian Prodenov of Revenue Canada expressing concerns that "members of the board of directors espouse strong negative views about sensitive and controversial issues, which may also be viewed as political, such as abortion, homosexuality, divorce, etc."
CRA spokesman Philippe Brideau would not confirm or deny the letter or its contents, saying he was bound by law not to discuss the confidential tax status of any taxpayer, charity or business. But Brideau said the revocation of charitable status was public knowledge and posted on the CRA website last year.
Pawlowski said King’s Glory Fellowship had grown so fast that it began to house a number of other ministries under its roof, including Street Church Ministries and some overseas outreaches to orphans and the disabled. He and his accountant wanted to know if all four should file separately or together. "If you’ve ever dealt with the gove rnment, it takes forever to get an answer," he said.
After a year and a half of effort, they missed the deadline, though Pawlowski said they were assured the process was just a formality.
The letter revoking the fellowship’s charitable status was "very clear," said Pawlowski. "It’s plain and simple: you do not qualify to be a charitable organization because of your views and political activities." The tax act allows for up to 10 per cent of a charity’s resources to go to political activities, but Pawlowski said no investigation was ever done.
Calgary Bishop Fred Henry said, "The simplest thing would be for Revenue Canada to say a mistake was made." Henry said CRA’s actions should send a message to every religious person in the country about the "enshrinement of political correctness." Yet he’s concerned the message is not getting out. Pawlowski’s latest battle with the CRA has received hardly any mention in the mainstream media.
The bishop described Pawlowski as being "in full warrior mode."
He described the Polish immigrant’s style as "in-your-face" and confrontational. "Right now he’s on fire and he’s doing a heck of a lot of good feeding people and looking after their spiritual wellbeing," said Henry. "It’s hard to fault him."
Pawlowski runs a Street Church Ministries that feeds the hungry and ministers to the homeless in downtown Calgary.