Last Sunday marked the fifth week since Pastor James Coates was last on the pulpit at his GraceLife Church just west of Edmonton, Alberta. Coates remains incarcerated at the maximum security Edmonton Remand Centre, where he has remained since turning himself in on Feb. 16 for breaching the public health order to limit his congregation to 15 per cent of fire code capacity.
Pastor Coates, though eligible for bail, cannot in good conscience sign bail conditions that would require him to adhere to the public health orders. GraceLife Church has also not required its congregation to wear masks during worship services or social distance.
Coates will remain in provincial custody until his trial in May. If found guilty, the pastor would not face jail time.
GraceLife Church as an entity has also now been charged with breaching the same public health order, and has been given a date in May 2021 to answer to the charges in provincial court.
For five Sundays in a row, Rebel News has been in attendance at the church, which, despite constant surveillance by Alberta Health Services and local RCMP, remains a sea of normalcy and fellowship.
No additional charges or tickets were laid on the church or the congregants this Sunday.