On March 22, James Coates, Pastor of GraceLife Church of Edmonton, Alberta, was released from jail without conditions after 35 days of incarceration. The judge fined him $1500 and reduced it to time served. Pastor Coates was arrested on February 16 for conducting church services contrary to Covid-19 restrictions (i.e, exceeding 15% fire code capacity). Coates told the judge, “I am not a political revolutionary, I am simply here in obedience with Jesus Christ, it is this obedience that put me at odds with the law.” Coates believes the entire church body must congregate together, which it has continued to do during his incarceration. One report noted that “other churches also violated health guidelines after Pastor Coates’s arrest without similar applications of the law against them” (The Gospel Coalition Canadian Edition, Mar. 23, 2021). On February 26, John MacArthur and the elders of Grace Community Church in California, issued a statement supporting Coates, who is a graduate of MacArthur’s Masters Seminary. On March 18, Mrs. Erin Coates appeared on Tucker Carlson’s program on Fox News and shared the gospel with the viewers.
(Friday Church News Notes, March 26, 2021, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143)