Canada: 1,000 people protest COVID-19 physical closure of GraceLife church

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Around 1,000 people attended a demonstration outside GraceLife Church in Alberta, Canada on Sunday, to protest against the government’s physical closing of the church’s premises on the grounds it had violated COVID-19 restrictions, Christian Headlines reports. GraceLife is led by Pastor James Coates, who was arrested and detained for holding services in contravention of coronavirus regulations; Coates’ trial is set for May 3.

In a controversial move last week, police in Stony Plain, Alberta put up a fence around the GraceLife Church premises, prohibiting all access, Christian Headlines reports. According to a statement from Alberta Health Services, the building will be “physically closed" until the church "can demonstrate the ability to comply with Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health's restrictions."

At Sunday’s demonstration, believers gathered to pray for the government and the church. A number of protesters began to tear down the fencing, but others helped the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to put it back up, saying "Jesus would not take down the fence."

GraceLife published a statement about the protest, saying: "It is time to end these unscientific, unjustified, and arbitrary lockdown measures. The closing of the GraceLife facility has understandably resulted in significant public outrage and caused even larger crowds to gather in one place.”

“Albertans have a constitutional right to assemble, associate, and worship. By taking the measures the government has, while the matter is still pending before the Courts, the Alberta Government has created an even more divisive situation," the GraceLife statement said.