Seth Udinski, FISM News
This past Sunday, Canadian Pastor James Coates returned to the pulpit to preach for the Sunday morning services at GraceLife Church in Edmonton, for the first time since his arrest last month. Pastor Coates was arrested on February 16 for continuing to hold full-capacity church services at GraceLife Church despite the state-mandated 15% capacity limit, and held in jail for over a month before his release on March 22. He returned to his ministry post in time to shepherd His congregation through Holy Week. All legal charges against the pastor were dropped, but Coates is still required to pay a $1500 fine.
Coates spoke in court during his release hearing last Monday, and the pastor affirmed his act of civil disobedeince was not meant to cause trouble. Rather, he was simply submitting in obedience to Jesus Christ:
I’m simply here in obedience to Jesus Christ and it’s my obedience to Christ that has put me at odds with the law at present. Please make no mistake, this is not a statement that I’m making to society. I’m not trying to make a point, I’m not a political revolutionary. I have a responsibility before God to shepherd the people entrusted to me. I have a responsibility to be obedient to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and it’s simply that obedience that has me here in this place
Although Pastor Coates is free and back in the pulpit, his legal proceedings are not yet finished. He is set to appear in court on May 3 to battle a public health violation from December of 2020. FISM News will continue to provide coverage of this development.