It is unbelievable this is happening in a democracy, but a church in Canada has been forced to go underground in order to hold services.
On Wednesday, April 7, 2021, RCMP showed up at GraceLife church outside of Spruce Grove, Alberta, and put up double barricades around the building to prevent people from attending services.
The church had been holding services in defiance of the provincial lockdown that limits attendance to 15% of capacity. It’s pastor, James Coates, was also in jail for 35 days when he was arrested for breaking the lockdown rules.
None of the charges against Coates warranted jail time, only fines, yet Coates ended up in jail because the RCMP demanded Coates voluntarily sign an undertaking that he would not attend services. Coates refused so, the RCMP refused to release the pastor.
He was eventually released once that undertaking was removed. His court case is scheduled for May 3, 2021 where he is facing a fine of $1,500 for violating lockdown orders.
With its building barricaded, this past Sunday (April 11, 2021) the church was forced to go underground holding a service at an undisclosed location that was broadcast live on YouTube. The church intentionally blurred out the faces of people attending the service in order to protect them from government health officials.
Only three people did not have their faces blurred. Pastor James Coates who spoke at the service and the two worship leaders identified as only John and Joe.
Pastor Coates stated that the government can take their facility, but they will just find another one.
At the start of the service, one of the worship leaders noted “Did you ever think you’d be part of an underground church?”. He added that the members of the church were attending a “seeker sensitive service” because not only are government authorities trying to seek them out, so is God Who is seeking those Who will worship Him in spirit and truth.
Pastor Coates delivered the message entitled “A Vain Thing” stating that he had originally intended to speak from Psalm 56, but instead focussed on Psalm 2:
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”
The Justice Centre, a legal non-profit, is representing Pastor Coates and the church in its legal fight against the government. GraceLife’s lawyers are arguing that the government’s lockdown of the province violates Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms because a government cannot restrict people’s freedoms and liberties on a whim, it must have proper justification for it.
GraceLife’s lawyers have asked the government to provide the science that warrants a full lockdown of the province. Despite repeated requests the government health officials are either unwilling or unable to provide the science to justify their decision.
With Coates’ lawyers stating that they will be challenging the legality of the lockdown, the government has requested a delay of Coates’ court case that is scheduled for May 3, because it does not have the scientific evidence in place.
The Justice Center is fighting the delay arguing that the government should have had the evidence in place to legally justify the lockdowns in the first place. Alberta initiated its lockdown in early 2020.
According to reports, Alberta has a population of 4.4 million and has registered just over 2,000 COVID deaths with over half over the age of 80.
On a side note, some are wondering if Alberta Health bureaucrats have gone rogue, because Alberta’s Health Minister Tyler Shandro stated that he did not authorize the church being barricaded.
If so, this would not be the first time health officials have gone rogue in Canada.
READ: They Can Take Our Facility, But We’ll Just Find Another One’: GraceLife Pastor Leads Church From Secret Location AND Alberta government seeks to delay May 3 trial of Pastor Coates and barricades Church
Below: Viva Frei interviews John Carpay who heads the Justice Centre, the organization representing GraceLife church in its legal battle with the government.