Today of the province of Alberta will allow their churches to re-open full without any restrictions or capacity limits, putting an end to what has been a brutal and dictatorial policy of the reigning conservative government which saw multiple churches closed down, and their pastors arrested and thrown in jail.
Pastor James Coates and GraceLife Church will come out of hiding and will be allowed to gather. The fence was taken down a few days ago but guards remain posted on the church property, lest anyone try to come in before the allotted time. Other churches who have been meeting virtually will come back in full, with no restrictions on gathering, all the while churches across the country are still bound by hard capacity caps and huge fines for any transgressions.
For Fairview Baptist Church in Calgary, they are allowed to open after being chained shut by the government and Alberta Health Services, but their Shepherd, Pastor Tim Stephens, remained incarcerated at the Calgary Remand Center until at least July 12.
Stephens was arrested June 12 when his outdoor gathering was spotted by a police helicopter and he was promptly arrested in front of his wife and kids, an officer quoting scripture to him as justification of why he must be arrested. Rallies have been held outside the maximum-security prison, with hundreds of supporters coming out to tell the world that they will not abandon their brother or forget him in prison, and that they honor him for his sacrifice and faithfulness.
For now, he shares in the affliction of the Apostle Paul and many others who have been jailed on account of their faith and insisting, when few others would, that Christ is always and forever the head of the church.
Please keep Tim, Raquel, their children, and their congregation in prayer today.
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