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Calgary pastor arrested after continuing to host services in violation of public health orders

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CALGARY -

The pastor of a southeast Calgary church has been arrested after allegedly violating a court order and holding an outdoor service on the weekend flouting pandemic-related public health orders.

Calgary Police Service and Alberta Health Services officials say Monday's arrest of Tim Stephens, the pastor of Fairview Baptist Church, followed "repeated calls from concerned citizens regarding church services."

Authorities say Stephens acknowledged the injunction but chose to continue to host services without respecting the mandated physical distancing measures or current capacity limits.

According to CPS, officers did not interrupt the outdoor weekend service.

The church in the southeast community of Fairview was ordered closed by AHS on May 17 and again on June 5 due to "ongoing public health concerns surrounding worship services during the pandemic."

According to the orders, services with upward of 150 parishioners were held at the church and physical distancing was not maintained between separate households. Some of those in attendance were not wearing face masks, including Stephens.

The pastor remains in custody ahead of his court appearance scheduled for June 28. This is the second time Stephens has been arrested in less than a month in connection with public health order violations.

Correction

The original version of this story indicated the recent alleged violations occurred within the church. The Calgary Police Service has corrected its original statement and confirms the weekend service took place outdoors.

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