Edmonton, Alberta Pastor Returns to Church After Jail Release

James Coates, pastor of GraceLife Church near Edmonton, Alberta, was happy to be back worshiping with his congregation on Sunday, March 28, after his month-long jail stint over violating the province’s arbitrary COVID-19 rules. Authorities released him last week after they tried to save face by getting Coates to plead guilty to “breaching a court undertaking.” All other charges and conditions they hoped to pin on him were dropped. He will have another court date in May to fight a ticket he got in December 2020.

During the church services Sunday two police cruisers showed up for awhile, but left the premises after speaking to someone outside the church building. Health Services officials wanted to enter the building, probably with the anticipation of harassing the congregation again over the number of people attending the in-person services. Thankfully, church members at the door refused to allow them to enter.

In an affidavit submitted to the court during Coates’s February-March jail detainment, his wife, Erin, defended her husband’s actions by stating he was following his “sincerely held religious belief …. only the Lord Jesus Christ has the authority to prescribe the terms of worship at GraceLife, not any other authority.” Rachel Notley, a left-leaning political activist, has called for the church to be shut down, claiming GraceLife is putting others at risk. She also argued on Twitter that other churches were complying with COVID demands, so GraceLife should do the same since they’re not better than anyone else.

I pray that God will shower down an overflow of blessings on GraceLife and the Coateses for their stance to follow the Lord’s directives above the unjust demands of humans. People should be free to exercise their rights and accept personal responsibility for their own actions without being micromanaged by government control freaks, in my opinion. If Black Lives Matter and Antifa are allowed to have packed rallies in the streets, unlawfully destroying property without social distancing or limited attendees, and if supermarkets can be packed with shoppers with little or no restrictions on capacity, then churches should be left alone and not be subjected to false pretexts conjured up by fearmongerers who have ulterior motives using a virus as a cover. Any church member who feels uncomfortable with in-person worship also has the freedom to choose to stay away.

16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. 1 Corinthians 9


Dylan Short, GraceLife Church pastor returns to pulpit after jail time for breaching COVID-19 public health order, Edmonton Journal, March 28, 2021.

Tyler Dawson, Alberta pastor out of prison for COVID violations, while church continues with packed services, National Post, March 29, 2021.

One thought on “Edmonton, Alberta Pastor Returns to Church After Jail Release

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  1. Yes exactly right Harry. The government was stared down by Pastor Coates and blinked. We have here in Canada a lot of frankly, leaders at the national and provincial level who are either very foolish or evil. Sorry for that but fortunately they are also fairly gutless as they must know, deep down, how in the wrong they are. We need more people like Mr. Coates and more GraceLife Churches. If it was close enough, we would also attend this church. We did attend a protest in our town to support this Pastor.

    Liked by 1 person

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