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Leon Fontaine, leader of Springs Church, passes away

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Springs Church leader Pastor Leon Fontaine has died.

An associate pastor with Springs Inner City in Winnipeg confirmed in a Facebook post that the pastor died on Saturday.

Fontaine, along with his wife Sally was the lead pastor at Springs. The church has two locations in Winnipeg and one in Calgary.

He was involved with various organizations associated with the church, including president of Springs Christian Academy, CEO of Miracle Channel, a Christian television station in Lethbridge, Alberta. Fontaine was also an author, spoke at conferences, and hosted two shows, The Spirit Contemporary Life and The Leon Show, according to his online biography.

Fontaine was a well-known Christian speaker across the country, but controversies during the COVID-19 pandemic drew attention to the church.

A public graduation ceremony for Springs College in May 2021 drew criticism after images were shared online of the unmasked ceremony. The church was ticketed, and at the time, Fontaine released a statement defending the ceremony, saying it was following health orders.

At the height of the COVID-19 restrictions on Manitoba in December 2020, Fontaine and Springs took the Province to court, calling for drive-in services to be allowed. The request was denied, but a short while later, health orders were amended to allow drive-in services.

Fontaine had five children, and five grandchildren according to his biography.

Nicholas Greco, Provost of Providence University College, says Fontaine’s prominence in the church’s identity could affect congregation attendance moving forward.

“We can’t really tell what will happen with Springs in the future with this transition in leadership, but you can imagine that some of the things that would compel people to come to a church is leadership,” Greco said.

In instances like Springs, Greco says leadership roles could be transferred to family. Fontaine’s wife Sally is currently also a senior pastor with the church, and his children are involved with the church.

“With this sort of singular identity that is the head of that church, without them being there, do they still find a particular definition?” Greco ass. “That’s really the question that we can ask at this point.”

The church has not announced its leadership plans moving forward. CTV has reached out to the church and the family for more information.

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