By Elizabeth Prata
The battle is ongoing with the Edmonton, Alberta Canadian officials against Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church. You might remember he was released from jail without the condition of having to recant on his stance that he will continue to preach inside his church without numerical restrictions on who may or may not attend. Albertan officials had jailed him in violation of their COVID-19 health regulations. The battle is not over apparently. Today James’ wife Erin reports that officials (
not clear who It’s RCMP the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) have fenced in the church by erecting a double line of chain link to prevent entry to the building. The work was begun suddenly in early morning and without notice allegedly, to anyone from the church.
Canadian folks on Twitter are asking if there was a judicial order allowing this raid, or some other legal warrant for officials to take action preventing access to privately owned property. Others reminded their audience about the Provincial charter allowing freedom of religion and other constitutional guarantees in their country.
Erin herself reminds us that the church isn’t a building, it is a blood-bought collection of forgiven people praising and worshiping the Lord. A local congregant asked for prayer for the elders of the church to be wise in dealing with this new development. Yes, it is a good thing to ask the Lord for.
Erin wrote: Now they’ve chained the doors of GraceLife Church enclosing in chain link fence. This is all under guise of a health order. Too bad the Church isn’t a building, it’s a blood bought people – Christ has and will prevail. We have an enemy and that enemy has been defeated by the death and resurrection of Christ.Instagram
I had responded on Twitter that though the cartoon Grinch tried to stop Christmas from coming by stripping away all the accessories of the holiday like the gifts and the meal and the decorations, he hadn’t stopped it at all. It came just the same. Whoville gathered on Christmas morning and sang anyway. The Grinch was puzzled over this.
I predicted the same thing happening for this real life event as it did in the cartoon- where Edmonton grinches try to stop the Gospel from going out by any means necessary, but the people will likely still gather on Sunday, sing, and worship outside the building the same Lord they worshiped last week inside the building. The officials may be puzzled, but the love the congregation has for Jesus will shine through and hopefully lighten the officials’ dark hearts. Perhaps these officials will repent.
I also had said it was petty. Officials who appear to be overstepping their executive authority must have been frustrated when Pastor James was released from prison without conditions. Their fencing and chaining response reminds me of the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz when she wanted retaliation, saying to Dorothy- “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!”
No, they won’t. Whether the building is open or closed, the spirit of the people who are in Christ will continue to worship Christ. Nothing will stop Christ’s plan from unfolding. Nothing, no Grinches, no Wicked Witch of the West, no Edmonton Officials, nothing. In Bible times, the harder Roman officials came down on the church, the MORE the church flourished. We are seeing this is real time. May the Lord be praised. May this be a lesson to us for when, not if, it is our own turn.