Pastor With Montana Ties Locked Up for Preaching During Lockdown, Held Without Bail


[Editor’s Note: This pastor has close ties to Montana, with church members who serve the Gideon Knox Group, the publishing organization that provides to you the Montana Daily Gazette. We provide this article with heavy hearts and prayers as godly men just across the border in Canada are facing extreme persecution for their Christian beliefs]

[Dustin Germain] A Canadian pastor remains in prison after being arrested for violating a public health order which prohibits houses of worship from gathering at more than 15 percent capacity. A judge has ruled that he will not be released until he pledges to stop in-person preaching and having church services if freed, an act he refuses to agree to.

He is the first Canadian Pastor to be jailed for holding a church service.

Pastor James Coates of Grace Life Church (GLC) in Edmonton, Alberta [Editor’s Note: GLC is about as solid as a church as they come, and we have close friends and ministry partners who attend there] has been in custody since Tuesday, the end result of a month-long protracted battle with the province trying to shut them down.

His wife Erin shared an update, writing that the condition of his release is that he effectively does not pastor anymore.

In an email to members, GLC elders also state the same:

The conditions currently in place prevent Pastor James from preaching, leading worship and even setting foot inside GraceLife Church until the time of his trial which is yet to be determined. Pastor James could not in all clear conscience abide by his current conditions so he remains behind bars.

Coates will remain in custody there until February 24, at which time he and their lawyer, James Kitchen (with the JCCF), will appear before a Judge and seek Pastor James’ release condition appealed or modified.

Coates’ Lawyer said in a statement to CTV:

His first obedience is to his Lord, is to his God. And normally, obeying Jesus and obeying the government go right in hand. The government is forcing him in to a position where he has to choose between disobeying God and obeying government, or obeying God and disobeying government.

He has chosen to obey God.

The province of Alberta has a population of 4.4 million and has 1798 deaths from COVID-19. Seventy-eight percent of the deaths have come from nursing homes/senior care homes and 97 percent of deaths are in people over the age of 60, with the average age of death being 83 years old.

Prior to being arrested, Coates told Rebel News that while he was dismayed that not many pastors were standing with him, he hoped he might serve as an example to stiffen their spine across the province and nation, where in locked down provinces all but a handful of Churches have gone virtual.

“It’s my prayer that some of the sermons that are coming from our pulpit will help to challenge the thinking of pastors all over this province who are true shepherds of the Lord Jesus Christ to take the stand they ought to take for the corporate gathering, to follow in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd.

To write a letter in support to Pastor, his new address is

James Coates
Remand Center
18415-127th St NW
Edmonton, AB
T6V 1V1

All letters will be opened and read.

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Gideon Knox Group editor-in-chief in Canada, Dustin Germain, and first published at Protestia]


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  1. I pray that the Churchmen of that congregation assemble and stand in front of that Remand Center. Rise up Churchmen!
    When those in civil authority make law which impugns the Law or Word of God, Christian men have a duty to obey God, rather than men.
    Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9


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