Pastor James Coates’ Wife Shares Her Husband's Ordeal In Detention


In mid-February, Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church, Edmonton, Canada was arrested for holding physical services against the government’s order. He insisted that he would obey God instead of the government and this has led to his continuous detention. His wife, Erin, has given a detailed account of her husband’s ordeal in the cell.

According to Coates’ wife, her husband only had 15-minute blocks outside his cell when he was first imprisoned and quarantined for two weeks. She made this information available to Faithwire through email.

Erin said that previously, her husband shared his cell with another man. However, her husband was later made to stay alone because his case was considered to be high profile. Presently, he gets about three hours outside his cell which are usually spilt in one-hour. During this time, he can bond with the inmates on his unit. However, she is still unable to visit him due to the corona virus restrictions.

Furthermore, Erin said she communicates with her husband through video calls even as she is taking care of their children. They are also awaiting his trial.

This week, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) made it public that it would file extra charges against the Edmonton, Alberta, church. On March 4, the congregation was served with summons to appear in court on May 5. 

The reason was for violating the government’s order by permitting more than the stipulated 15% capacity in their services on February 21 and 28, 2021. It will be recalled that the church got a $1,200 fine in December for disregarding the capacity limits imposed by the Alberta Health Services. 

Last Friday, Justice Peter Michalyshyn of Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench refused bail to Coates. His reason was that the imprisonment of the gospel minister is justified and necessary due to the fact that he is bound by the rule of law. More so, he refused to comply with the condition of his release several times and this behavior affects public safety.

The Edmonton Journal reports that the judge made mention of the values of GraceLife Church which entails holding a “strong and literal interpretation of holy Scriptures.” In turn, it mandates its members to meet together physically for worship services. 

Regardless, the church released a statement that the restrictions are more about the decision of the government to be domineering than caring about public health and safety. Also, it said that there is no practical evidence that the measures to control COVID-19 are through lockdowns. Rather, it is an attempt by the government to strip the people of their civil liberties. 

Consequently, when the pandemic is over, the government wants the people to be dependent on them instead of taking charge of themselves. More so, loving one’s neighbor as oneself entails that everyone is permitted to exercise their civil liberties, the church said.

It is pertinent to note that Coates and GraceLife Church has been given a series of warnings to restrict its services and comply with the COVID-19 rules. However, Pastor Coates did not stop preaching and he was arrested in mid-February by the RCMP. His trial has been slated for May 3-5.

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