The Persecution of Street Church: First in a series of articles
by admin on Feb.24, 2009, under Ministry
Recently a case of utter persecution against a Christian Ministry in Calgary, Aberta Canada has come to my attention.
Pastor Artur Pawlowski and Street Chuch, found at http://www.streetchurch.ca has been under fire for nearly four years now by the authorities both high and low in Calgary.
The perseuction has been in many forms: Intimidation, arrests, tickets for feeding the homeless and/or for refusing to give up their rights to feed the homeless and preach the Gospel. While I know and understand that Canada is a different type of democracy than the United States, there are still several fundamental truths such as a freedom of speech and religion that are covered in Canada’s version of our Bill of Rights. While researching Street Church, I have again and again seen the fact that their rights are being violated, at times with drug deals literally going on not 10 yards away. Why has Street Church been targeted in such a fashion? Could it be because they are becoming a great threat to the enemy of all mankind; Satan? They have reached and fed thousands in the greater Calgary area, as well as baptized many in the river (See the post under EVANGELISM IN ACTION: UPSIDOWN RAINBOW).
The latest arrest was when Street Church’s outreach team went to near a drop in center to distribute food and hot drinks and preach the gospel. Three of their number were arrested on the spot after a confrontation with police over a $36 CAD parking ticket. While the officers bickered with Street Church officials over the parking of their truck on a normally slow roadway, drug deals for crack, cocaine, heroin, and only God knows what else went on literally across the street. You could see it in the video.
Why are the police and bylaw officers handling a peaceful ministry as though they were a cult of terrorists? Why is the persecution growing stronger with each passing day? It’s simply because Street Church is taking the Great Commission personally, as every Christian should. They go out to feed the poor, the hungry, and the hopeless and in the process are able to witness to these same individuals in Jesus name. A threat that the Great Enemy hates with increasing passions. We as Christians need to be aware of the persecution on our own home soils and we need to be prepared to combat it peacefully and legally, as Street Church has. Through the courts, through peaceful vigils and demonstrations, Street Church has attempted to inform those both within and without Calgary of their predicament. Yet the secular media turns it around, the police and bylaw officers of the city of Calgary persist in their arresting and persecution of this peaceful ministry outreach.
Jim Blake of Concerned Christians Canada (http://www.concernedchristians.ca) had the following to say:
“During this altercation three volunteers were arrested, one of which for recording the behaviour of the police from a nearby sidewalk, and still other ministry members were intimidated by being surrounded by squad cars, paddy wagons and police officers. Ironically drug dealers and drug users were conducting their business right in front of the officers and they did nothing to stop them. It’s just so hypocritical. It’s high time that City council step up to the plate. They need to lay down their battle gear and allow Street Church to care for the less fortunate in peace. The very things that City officials harass Street Church about they allow others to do regularly without attacking them. This is a precisely targeted campaign against a ministry that preaches the gospel. It is bigotry and it must stop,” stated Jim Blake, National Chairman, Concerned Christians Canada.
Since first hearing of Street Church, I have since been able to speak with Pastor Artur Powlowski over the phone. In a blessed conversation Pastor Art gave me a bit more history behind what has been happening with Street Church, and the understanding that they truly are a peaceful ministry who only wishes to help, feed, and give hope to those less fortunate than us.
“The City’s continued disregard for the desperate needs of the homeless, and the ruthless targeted attacks on the ministry, must stop. There are lives at stake and the constant intimidation of our volunteers, who are really making a difference in these people’s lives, is completely unacceptable. Frankly, I don’t understand why Calgarians remain silent while this targeted persecution of our ministry continues unchallenged. When will they realize that when you sit back and allow one group of people to have their rights denied, it won’t be long before yours are gone, and there will be nobody to come to your defense,” stated Artur Pawlowski lead pastor of Street Church Ministries.
It is a very difficult case, and one that we as Christians need to be not only aware of, but in prayer for and supporting of. I will be writing more articles about Street Church, it’s ministry, and the persecution that this peaceful and blessed ministry has been undergoing for the past several years.
Please check out their website at: http://www.streetchurch.ca to see how YOU can help.