A B O U T

Street Church and Artur Pawlowski are Featured in Upcoming International Documentary Film Directed by Tomasz Wisznlewski.

The amazing story of hope and perseverance in the face of trials, opposition and arrests captured the attention of renowned overseas movie director Tomasz Wiszniewski. Director Wiszniewski and his crew spent almost two weeks in Calgary filming the daily activities of Street Church and their volunteers.

They spent countless hours interviewing people from different fields about Street Church and its ministry. Everyone ranging from politicians, lawyers, reporters, members of the police department and the mayor's office to the homeless served by the church and members of the public who passed by Street Church services were asked about why there is so much controversy, opposition and resistance towards a peaceful ministry that feeds thousands of the less fortunate on the streets of Calgary. Particularly, they focused on why there is a tremendous and open hostility against Street Church from the municipal government.

During the two weeks, the filmmakers witnessed and recorded firsthand what motivates and empowers the volunteers to stand for truth and in defense of human rights. They witnessed many lives being impacted during their time in Calgary through prayer, salvations, and the meeting of basic needs such as food.

In the documentary, Street Church volunteers are seen enduring and overcoming many obstacles in their mission. The documentary shows these volunteers being harassed, intimidated, handcuffed, arrested and taken before the courts by local authorities for simply standing up for their constitutional rights. It records their service to the poor despite rain, snow and freezing weather. As well, it shows the bravery of volunteers in the midst of attacks by local gangs. The film captures how they have managed to keep their faith throughout and continue with the mission they were called to do.

The film also features never before released archive footage of the miraculous recovery of a boy named Nathaniel whom doctors labeled a "Star Baby" because they declared that he would not survive. Born with smashed lungs, a heart located on the opposite side, stomach and bowels in his upper chest, Nathaniel had all odds against him.

Also presented is a story of a successful businessman who left all of his wealth to dedicate his life to serve and defend the rights of the poor.

This production was filmed at various locations such as Lake Louise, Drumheller, Calgary, Hobbema and Warsaw, Poland. The film was shot by cameraman Alex Pavlovic and it is produced by Henryk Dedo.

The finished documentary will be shown in Europe and North America and will be featured at over fifty film festivals.

Based on a radio documentary by
Henryk Dedo and Waldemar Kasperczak

directed by
Tomasz Wisznlewski

photography
Alex Pavlovic

edited by
Pawel Suchta

written by
Tomasz Wisznlewski
Henryk Dedo
Waldemar Kasperczak

produced by
Fundacja “Glos Ewangelii”
www.gospel.pl

 

Please Visit / Like our page Street Advocate

 


 

The Street Advocate Radio Documentary

This is the translation of the radio documentary called "Street Advocate", it was done on the work of Street Church ministry's. Few years ago the documentary was broadcasted nation wide on a number of occasions. It won awards for the best radio documentary in Poland.

The Street Advocate

Radio documentary Script

Author: Henryk Dedo and Waldemar Kasperczak

Direction: Henryk Dedo and Waldemar Kasperczak; Sound Design: Waldemar Kasperczak; Producer: Fundacja „Glos Ewangelii"; Lenght: 37 min. 12 sec.; Date of Production: January 2008; First Broadcast: June 7th 2008; Script Translation: Magda Welman

Ladies and Gentleman welcome aboard British flight...

Narrator

I'm sitting in a plane ready for my next business trip to the other side of the ocean. This time to Canada. Besides necessary things and official documents, I always have with me two things: a camera and a recorder. Who knows whom I will meet...?

Airport in Calgary.

My friend is late. To fill the time I've picked up a "Calgary Herald" that someone left on the bench. There is a big title on the first page: Art Pawlowski, Advocate of the Street, Acquitted. Pawlowski? Sounds familiar. Is he a Pole? I'm reading with interest, looking for the answer: "Art Pawlowski, a businessman with Polish roots, also known as Advocate of the Street, was acquitted of all 20 charges made against him by Calgary authorities. The Street Church organized peaceful demonstrations in front of town hall, to protest civil rights violations."

One hour later I'm there, in front of the town hall.

Arthur

The public has a right to know what the City is doing. You see, that was the biggest problem with the media. The media did not portray this whole thing accurately. To this day we are not guilty of any violation. And that was the main reason the City of Calgary took our permits away. Remember, they revoked the permit based upon a noise complaint, which their own officer found totally invalid. Their own investigators said: "These guys are not breaking the law." Everyone investigating this case agreed that the accusations were baseless. They know what we need – we need amplification, because of the noise, and we need to feed these people, because they are hungry. You think they would come if they weren't hungry? Look at them. You think this has nothing to do with it? They are hungry, desperate, hopeless. We come, we feed them – but mostly, we give them hope. This is what they need – hope for tomorrow, hope for another day, for a better day.

So now if I receive another fine or ticket, I will be arrested and put away for a year or two. That's how they treat us. That's why we are here appealing to the Mayor and his heart. Help us. Help us, because his bureaucrats break the law in the name of the law.

Do they think we are slaves? We are free citizens of this country. These people you see here are treated inhumanely. The shelters are being locked. They are being shuffled like animals, like cows, from one place to another. Is this a civilized democracy? Is that what our forefathers were dying for? Tell it like it is. I'm sure that the Mayor of Calgary doesn't want homeless on the streets. And, you know, I don't like to see the homeless on the streets. I think that the city should have enough dignity to take these people off the streets and at least provide some kind of shelter.

Journalist Interview

Thank you. Are you doing a service here?

Arthur

Yes we are going to start preaching in about 5 minutes.

Narrator

Hi, my name is Henry.

Arthur

Hi, how are you?

Narrator

Arthur, could you please state in a few words what is going on here?

Arthur

In Polish or English?

Narrator

In Polish.

Arthur

This is a peaceful demonstration with homeless people participating. We came to town hall to talk with the Mayor and ask him to help us ...

Narrator

...we can't talk now. I have so many questions, so Il ask Arthur for a meeting tomorrow. He invites me to his home.

Arthur

I found it, although I almost lost hope. I also found something else. Ten thousand Polish zlotys minted in 1990, the year we moved. "Solidarity from 1980 till 1990" – a special edition of that coin. The other 500 zlotys are from 1989, during the time I was traveling around Europe and smuggling. This for instance is a US dollar that I brought from Poland promising myself never to spend it, as from this dollar I started. I brought three such dollars. One I spent on food, one I lost on games and this third – I kept. I did as I said. It was 17 years ago. The past...

Participant 1

There is a former drug abuser shouting here. He wanted to kill Arthur in the past. He used to be a junkie and drug dealer. One day, drunk and under the influence of drugs, he came to the park while we were setting up our stuff before the meeting. He started quarreling and fighting. Two weeks later he came back, looked around and talked. The next week he gave his life to Jesus, got baptized and is free now, and he is with us. We are inviting unconverted people to work with us and talk. His testimony is very strong. He was using and selling drugs and alcohol. He knows many people.

Narrator

Does he speak Polish?

Participant 1

He doesn't.

Arthur

We left for Greece. We did not receive visas so we had to escape from a tourist ship, a very big one. We managed to do this in Piraeus while we were in Athens. We then traveled 50 km away from Athens to a small village, very small, Agius Apostolius. Beautiful village. Tourist attraction. During these few months – thousands of people, dozens of thousands of tourists. But during winter months – total emptiness, only howling dogs and plenty of cats. So, it was our "paradise" Our first bed we took from the dump. First TV set, black and white, also from the dump, worked only 15 minutes.

We came not knowing any words in Greek. I found a job. I received a shovel. I didn't know what to do with it actually. My entire life before was based on my mind. I was studying, learning, and I loved learning. I was winning one competition after another. And now, I had a shovel in my hand. Some strangers talked to me, shouted at me in a language unknown to me but I was thinking to myself "We'll manage!" The first word I got to know after my first work day was: gamotto. They shouted it at me it very often: gamotto. It means village idiot, something like this.

Next word was avrio, means tomorrow. I heard it first time, when I asked for my salary for that day of work. As a replay I heard: avrio, avrio. It took me half a year to earn enough to buy a bike, and it was a secondhand bike. I tied my shovel and trowel to it and was ready for my new goal. I thought to myself "If I have to work as a builder of new homes for rich Greeks I want to have my own building company." I went to look for some opportunities and people willing to work for me. And I found them, but the problem was that I had absolutely no idea about the entire building process. One Greek asked me if I knew how to make concrete. "Yes, yes, we'll do," I was assuring him. We signed the agreement, for really big money, and I was desperately looking for someone who could do concrete for me. I found one Pole and promised to pay him twice as much as others offered him. He agreed to work for me and I was his helper.

After work was done and we received money, I started to look for a new job and another one. There were business cards, phones, first car, next one and third... Bigger contracts, I was later employing not only Poles but also Greeks, Albanians – plenty of people were coming from Albania in those days. The Albanian mafia also came, so I had to deal with them. And again big money, big buildings, I was working for the richest people on the earth. I was working for politicians, was friends with ministers, was working for singers, I went to the most exclusive parties where one drink cost $100. After 6 years our financial situation was very, very good. But we had...enough, we wanted to stop. Canada said that they need ambitious, young people with good financial status to build this country. We met with the consul in Athens. He looked at us, listened to us and said: "We want such young people, who want to gain something".

So we "landed up" in Canada in 1995.

Demonstration

Arthur

Let the city give us our rights! Our freedom! We are pleading with the Mayor's heart today!

Policeman

(asks if there are going to be any trouble)

Arthur

No, that's why we are on a public sidewalk; we don't want to cause any disturbance, just pleading with the Mayor's heart today, to give us our rights...

Policeman

O.K.

Arthur

... to feed the poor, to clothe them, to give the message of hope, that's all.

Policeman

Ok. Thank you very much.

Arthur

God bless you.

Narrator

Who was that man?

Arthur

Police officer. Mayor of the City called the police. They came and asked what we were doing here. We have our rights and we are not breaking them. This is a peaceful demonstration. We are not breaking any rules and they can't do anything to us. He also asked if we planned to demonstrate on the street, to cause problems. We don't have any intention of doing that.

In 1998 we started our business, opened a company, we were doing big investments, renovations, big contracts. We were building new buildings, renovating shopping centers, churches. In 1998 we had about 40 people employed. We were all the time developing our company and building new homes. That was the time when I used to say: "Tell me, how much do you need? I'll give you a check, but keep the entire 'church' staff away from me." We were earning $5,000 a day and I had totally no time for anything like Church. So I said, "Tell me how much you need for your charity needs, but stay away from me. I have no time. I have to meet with clients. I must participate in golf. I must this and that. My time is too precious."

Three months later, I lost everything: 50 employees, a few buildings started – everything. On each construction site someone had stolen something, starting from hard equipment to cement. We caught people red-handed, but judges were always setting them free with no consequences. It was unbelievable. Everything and everyone were against us. It took me more than three months to pay back everything, to repay people, to pay for lost equipment. I had to use all my money. I was in so much debt then that the Feds came to take me to jail for unpaid taxes. Please, give me half a year. If you put me in jail right now, you'll get nothing back. After half a year I could repay everything. I will work day and night and you'll see – I'll repay everything. They talked to lawyers, investigated me, and discovered that it wasn't my fault, that I was the victim of thefts. Many clients did not pay me at all. The government agreed. I worked for six months non-stop and I was able to pay everything back to the last penny.

Preaching

Participant

There are a lot of jobs in Calgary. We send many people and they are employed full time and are working. There also is one Polish lady here that used to be a prostitute. She has five children with Canadian Indian. Her testimony is also very strong. You know: drugs and so on... but behind this is a broken heart, unloved, unwanted, rejected. There were reasons. That is how it looks.

Arthur

March 28th, 2000. My son was born. Three doctors came and told us that there was no chance he would survive, because he had damaged lungs. His stomach and intestines were where his lungs should be and his heart was on the other side. They asked us to consider switching the machines off as he would never be able to live or would always be like a vegetable. We said no, we didn't want to agree with that. I stood totally, totally against God. I told Him: "You took away my money. OK, I can live with that, but leave me my child!" At that moment I was so full of anger towards God that I declared war against him. I ran away from the hospital. I didn't want to talk to my wife. I became as cold as ice, no feelings at all, like I was frozen.

When I came next day to the hospital, I had my first vision. I'd never believed in things like this, but... I saw Jesus in Gethsemane, I saw Him suffering, saw how He was nervous before everything that was ahead of him. I saw the crowd beating Him, blood was pouring on the ground. He was tortured, beaten, they were spitting on him. I couldn't stand it and I ran away. But I had to go back. The doctor wanted to talk to us, to know our decision. So I went back and asked everyone to leave. I wanted to be alone with my son for a moment. That sterile, white room, white sheets and this tiny newborn body. He was so little that there was no space for another needle, tubes in his head, nose, everywhere...

Next vision.

And it was so strange, because I didn't believe in magic dreams, things like visions – like other people. But I saw this in such a real way like I see you right now. It was like someone played a movie in front of me. And I heard a voice, like I hear you now, a voice that said: What would you do to save your son? I looked at this little body of my child and said: Everything. Tell me to kill and I will do this so he could live. You can do nothing actually. But I...I could. But I didn't. Do you know why? For you and for other people. It broke me as a man, as a human being.

Arthur as speaker on the meeting

No demonic forces, no principalities can take you away from God's hand of His protection. Following Jesus – there is a cost, men – there is a cost, I remember...

Arthur

For the first time I was crying for my son. I didn't even touch him as I was afraid I would fall in love with him. He was dying, had no chance to love and I didn't want to have anything to do with it. I just watched as my wife stroked him, spending time with him, but I kept myself at a distance. I didn't even want to touch him. I raised my hands up and told God: "I give you my son like Abraham on the altar. Do what you want with him, but you must know one thing. No matter whether he lives or dies, I will serve you till the end of my life." And... I was all in tears. With these tears everything went out of me, all my rebellion, anger, my entire past life when I tried to be stronger and stronger, all those years of smuggling, working, money, and unforgiveness. Then I told Him, when I calmed myself a bit, I told Him: "But God, if you give my son back to me, I'll be grateful till the end of my life."

Arthur as speaker on the meeting

...but you know – God is faithful. Men, God is a faithful God. He says this; "No one will be able to take you, and you, and you away from my love, no one! And, you know, we can't go away from the love of God.

Arthur

When I walked along the hospital's corridor people pointed at me with their fingers. "This is the father, this is the father" – they were saying. I didn't know what they were talking about. "This is the father of the Star-baby." Three doctors came again and told us: "We are not able to understand what is going on. Your son not only lives, but also is breathing on his own. In his condition he has no right to breathe. His heart, in a few hours, moved to the normal place." They showed me pictures of my son's damaged lungs, and next, and next as the process of restoration started. They were shocked, because from a medical standpoint it was impossible. They said "It seems like your God listened to your requests. We called your son Star Child. It's like the boy dropped down from the stars. He shouldn't live but he lives."

Nathaniel was born on my birthday, the same day I was born, like a gift from God. March 28th, 2000. Nathaniel means in Hebrew: God's gift.

Song in the background: "We Follow Jesus"

Arthur

Later on, I started other businesses. I had my own newspaper, I had an office in the most prestigious place in this city, I had meetings with politicians and again money started to flow. But one day I heard God telling me: "Pack your stuff from the office and leave it, as I have something else for you." I did it and I never came back. I went on the street; I went to the poor ones.

On meeting in park

Arthur

What's your name?

Homeless

Laurence.

Arthur

Nice to meet you Laurence. We have a Bible for you. Let me give you a Bible.

Laurence

OK, thanks.

Arthur

I can remember the first time a drunken Indian came to me. He came up the street where I was preaching about this God who loves, no matter whether you have much or not much, whether you are handsome or ugly. This Indian came to me asking Preacher, are you talking about love? Yes – I said. So give me your T-shirt – as his own was old and full of holes. I thought to myself "Oh no, I won't give it to him, I like my T-shirt. The Ten Commandments are printed on it. I don't have another like this. It fits perfectly for preaching on the streets ...I won't give it to him!"

I was surrounded by people. I didn't know what to do. But finally I took off my T-shirt and gave it to him, and he gave me his own. The smell was so disgusting that I couldn't stand it and I had to take it off. And God confronted my heart: - You see, you preach love, but you don't truly love them. You are just talking about me. – And I said: But Lord, love comes from you; you have to give me such love. I'm not able to love these people. They are alcoholics, homeless, prostitutes, drug dealers – how can I love them? Then I prayed: "Lord, give me your eyes so I could look at these people like you are looking at them and at us." And He gave them to me. And I can remember that I looked at them with tears in my eyes and I started to see them truly through the prism of God's love. That's how it started to develop.

Arthur as speaker on the meeting

I was hungry and you gave me meat. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you took me in. I was naked and you clothed me.

Art's wife

I can remember a dinner at Church, it was during Easter. I invited our Polish acquaintances like I always did, but – what was unusual – no one could come. So I said: "You know, let's go and invite the homeless." We drove to the city center, packed the car full with homeless people and brought them to Church. That time my husband had already been on the streets. A week later we held our first service on the street.

Arthur as speaker on the meeting

That's why we are here. Because some of you are thirsty, some of you are hungry, some of you are naked...

Arthur

We decided to go to the most dangerous area of the city, where murders happen, rapes, prostitution and drug dealing, where even the police are afraid to come (if they do come, they always have a backup). And everything was OK. Two hundred, three hundred people participate in meetings; we feed them and share the Gospel with them. But someone in a higher position didn't like it, politicians started to pay attention to that. And one of them decided that it was not very good that we were taking these people off the street. I don't know why it is like that. Maybe they have some connection with drug dealing and are afraid of losing clients. This is the only reason that comes to my mind.

The war started. We lost all permits for feeding the homeless, for holding meetings. Yes, we are not allowed to feed hungry people... We are not allowed to tell them that they can leave the street. We are under constant police attack. 20 court cases, 20 times before a judge. When I went to court with all these fines, the lady in the office was totally astonished. She told me: You know, I'd never seen such fines like yours. In my entire career, I'd not even heard of such case. What is going on here? You have to ask the Mayor – I replied. – He has all the answers." We received fines because feeding the homeless created danger for drivers. They could lose concentration watching what was going on. Fine for $402. Next one I received for unloading food. They wrote that we were crossing the street outside the pedestrian zone. Another one was for illegal feeding of homeless. Next, for placing stuff on the sidewalk – that's what they called it.

We're told about a place where prostitutes and drug dealers stay, deal, sell, loiter, sleep... But we've placed food there and it was wrong. Summing it up, in just a few weeks we received more than 20 fines. And all we were guilty of was that we were giving hope to these people.

Preaching lady

So thank you guys for coming out. I know you cannot stop to be blessed. Look at the ground you are standing on – it is holy ground. It is not the enemy's park any more. This is God's holy ground.

Art's wife

During the summer we are with children in parks. Many mothers come with their children. We bring some balls, bikes, we play, and that also is changing the atmosphere of this place. It actually was the most dangerous place in the city, and I can truly say "it was." Our presence there really touched these people. They were coming to me and saying, "You brought your children here!"

It also was unique to see homeless ladies in tears watching my children and other children. Men that said to me, "You know I also have a son, but haven't seen him for five years..." Such moments were opportunities for me. I would say "Come back! Come back. Allow God to change you and go back to your family." And good things were and are happening.

Arthur as speaker on the meeting

There will be none without a roof above his head. There will be none ...

Participant

I myself was a gangster here in Calgary. I was in a gang for a few years. I was selling drugs, guns, I had friends that were stealing and dealing cars, drugs, and then I myself fell into drugs. I took cocaine for 10 years. About a year ago I heard the Gospel of Jesus and I was healed instantly. It was a miracle. Miracles are happening here on the street. Miracles in the name of Jesus Christ.

Arthur

There is constant war with the press, television, Mayor of the town. Even in today's newspaper they didn't portray us properly. According to them we are these bad guys and the Mayor of the town is the good guy. It is not easy if you know the truth. I know the truth, but manipulation in the media is huge. Yesterday on TV – the same – we were presented in the wrong light.

Narrator

We are watching with Art a recording of yesterday's news. What I can see is actually different from what I saw on the street yesterday. I have to conclude that not only Poland has a problem with bias on television.

TV – News

...eventually, officers told Pawlowski and his followers to leave. They will be allowed to hold another protest in front of city hall next week.

Arthur

This house is the place where we store everything. There are a few beds here and food. We sort food here. For example, this goes today. We are also having a barbecue for the homeless today. No matter what the weather is like, rain, snow, minus 20 degrees Celsius, minus 30, we are there. There always are some juices and snacks, and today, we are having a barbecue. So look, here everything is ready for people, in boxes like this. We are helping families in need, single mothers with children, or families that are in totally bad financial condition and have no money for food. See, God is providing us with everything that is necessary to feed others. Each cupboard is filled to capacity: sugar, salt, even chocolate, rice, noodles. Also clothes and sleeping bags.

The government absolutely doesn't want to participate in this and is not helping us. We haven't received a cent from the government. Everything comes from ordinary people saying: "I can see what you are doing and I'd like to help. What could I buy for you?" And people are buying food, clothes, and sleeping bags, whatever is needed.

Sounds of the street in the background

ArthurCity hall

We are on the streets four times a week and the war is still going on. I never believed that I would stand fighting for the Gospel. More than that, I never believed that I would stand fighting for the Gospel in a country that was built on the Gospel and on the Holy Scripture. It is shocking to me. It is shocking to me because this country has its anthem with words about God who holds everything in his hands. As Canadians sing "God keep our land glorious and free!

Meal voices

Arthur

I don't know if I'll come back home this evening, as we are going to preach the Gospel. When we started to take more and more poor from the streets, some "important" people started to feel anxiety. Drug dealing is very much a luxury business. Someone "employed" a hit man to kill me for $5,000. What is $5,000? I had a lot to do with big money; we could give 10 times more. There were times I earned $5,000 a day. How little I was worth... But when I talked to my brother he said, "Listen, you should be glad, it is a lot today. I was priced for $300." Once I was stoned, another time someone threw a knife in my direction. Two weeks ago when I was preaching and the police came, 20 men with guns surrounded me.

Am I dangerous?

In the most dangerous place in the city we've been pulling people out of the gutter and the government claims that we are very dangerous. So strange things are going on here. I can remember some words spoken by a great man of God, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He said that "The war is lost when you stop fighting." So, as long as we can, we should go and fight for the Kingdom of God, to share the Gospel. As long as we have mouths and tongues – we are not lost.

Dawid as speaker on the meeting

And I'm not trying to scare you. This is reality. God is near your heart. He put 10 Commandments in your heart. Start searching. I bless you in the name of Jesus. Wake up. You have a saying in Canada "Wake up and smell coffee." Do it, do it now.

In the airplane

Narrator

I'm going back. Thousands of feet above the ground I'm thinking about finished matters, and about these that were not possible to finish, about people I met, about a Canada I hadn't known before. I'm thinking about Arthur and his ministry, I have with me dozens of hours of recordings and I'm asking myself how it would be possible to say everything in 30 minutes. How should I title this material – Gamotto or Street Advocate? Or maybe Don Quixote from Calgary? But I can't find the answer to the one most important question: How will it all end?

 

 

 

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