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Salyan

Salyan

Third pastor arrested in Alberta

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So sad. We're praying for you folks in Canada. Stand Strong !!

Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."

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Each province is a little different, but generally speaking, no.


BC has forbidden non-essential travel between health regions. There are check stops set up on some major highways in the south (it's very mountainous, so these highways really are the only way through) where police are stopping people. It sounds like claiming essential travel gets you through okay, but I wouldn't want to drive an RV. BC churches are meeting outside only, last I remember.


Alberta is usually the Texas of Canada, and has a 'conservative' government, so the fact we're seeing the restrictions we are is ridiculous. We're actually getting more closed down, and the government keeps changing the  goalposts for reopening. They claim that if 75% get vaccinated, they'll 'start' to reopen. We have 48% half vaccinated (don't ask me my opinion on this!) and 3.5% fully vaccinated. Vaccination status is beginning to affect access to places like seniors' homes.  We are still at 15 people allowed for church services, 15% capacity in retail, and some types of small businesses/gyms/etc. shut down.  Schools flip-flop between online and in-person learning - always with masks. Restaurants can have take out only. 8 weeks ago, restaurants were open for dine in service - then they shut that down but allowed patios. Many restaurants spent thousands of dollars (after a year with multiple months of closures) to put in patios - then the government closed them down for pick up services only. This doesn't work in highly rural areas, where one can drive 30-45 minutes from the restaurant to their home. Many restaurants and places dependent on tourist income are already closed for good - but Costcos and Walmarts with active outbreaks can stay open. (For the record, Alberta is running PCR tests at such a high number of cycles that our 'positive' cases are likely well over 50% false positives.)  Funerals & weddings are allowed 15 - no reception, and last week, outside social gathering sizes were reduced from 10 to 5. Cities are worse - Edmonton has its own private masking requirements that require people visiting the zoo OUTSIDE to wear masks. We are getting more closed down, not less. Last week, the government removed many of the masking exemptions, and required doctor's notes for anyone wishing exemption (the list of approved reasons for mask exemption is very small). The strong conservative feeling is that they are trying to force the small businesses to close. The liberal government is beginning to discuss a Universal Basic Income. 

There was an attempt by bureaucrats in the Parks Department to implement drone use to monitor back-country camping during long weekends - to make sure people aren't gathering in groups that are too large. That was probably not approved by the appropriate Minister, and it was rescinded very quickly after it was found out by the media (for once, even the very liberal media, which usually functions as a propaganda arm of the government, was a bit shocked).

The injunction Pr. Tim was arrested under was verbally changed the week before his arrest to exclude the clause under which he was arrested. Our health service department (AHS) is fighting hard to say that since the change wasn't yet documented, it should still be valid. It took a while to get him out (he was released yesterday), since the release conditions he was originally offered were not something he could agree to in good conscience (haven't heard what they were, but are probably similar to what Pr. Coates of GraceLife were given - he spent 5 or 6 weeks in jail before realistic conditions were negotiated). Their church building has been ordered closed by AHS. They will likely be looking for another place to meet (if they go back, the locks will be changed on the building, and Pr. Tim & possibly their other elder will be rearrested). I would like to know how unlelected health services became so powerful! The fear of death in the world must truly be immense.

This is a political response, not a spiritual one, but I wish the churches in this province would see the importance of publicly acknowledging their religious requirement to meet corporately, and to sing. So many think they must obey the government, but don't seem to see the long-term implications - so they are following all restrictions. Many have not met in-person or fully corporately for a year (this is broad-brushing across all denominations, not specific to IFB). We are the only IFB church in our circles to be publicly fully open... I know a couple more at least that are meeting corporately in secret or inconspicuously, and others fully follow the restrictions.  If more stood up, it would make it difficult for the government to devote the amount of resources to them all that are currently being used to target the few. Of those that see the importance for corporate worship, the number of underground churches is growing. Think about that. Canada has underground churches.

And pray for our peace in this time. I know we don't compare to other regions of the world, and we are not really being specifically targeted for persecution (ask any gym or restaurant!), but in a country that still claims freedom of religion, assembly and association, it's really hard to reconcile.

That was a VERY long response - sorry! I guess I had a lot to say. :laugh:  

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