Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are badly treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. Hebrews 13:3
The Church has been Charged as an ‘Entity’
Not content to simply insist to keep the pastor in jail, GraceLife Church has now been charged as an “entity” for violating COVID-19 public health order capacity limits, with the church itself being served a summons to attended Stony Plain provincial court on May 5, the last day of Pastor Coates trial.
As for what that means, organizations, corporations, and churches (entities) can be guilty of a public health order offense in the same way that an individual can. If the health orders apply to gatherings, and the church hosts the gatherings, this would make the church guilty and being charged as an “entity” allows it to be held accountable and punished. The consequences for the entity are either fines, seizure of assets, or being physically shut down. Because the entity is overseen by people, this means there may be personal liability for the leadership structure of the church.
John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms – the organization representing Coates in court – said that it’s likely both the Church’s trial and James’ will be amalgamated into one, explaining:
The onus will be on the government to prove that these health orders are valid under the Charter. That’s the No. 1 point about this trial that a lot of people aren’t getting. It will be the government’s health orders that are on trial.
Though the church is charged as an entity sounds ominous, it may be a bit of a ruse. With public outcry against the church rising, this may be a way to satiate critics of the church who are demanding something be done without having to engage in more strong-arm tactics. After all, James remains in prison for being a “public health menace” and “danger to the public” for preaching on Sunday, while the other pastor, Jacob Spenst, has been preaching, in the same manner for the last 4 weeks, all without similar intervention so far.
Police and Alberta Health Services (AHS) employees continue to show up at the church, but do not stay long. They don’t enter the church property, engage with churchgoers or hand out fines, and usually leave after about 20 minutes.
Gregory Harris, a spokesperson for AHS, said they are still monitoring the situation and working on the file:
Grace Life Church continues to create unacceptable public health risks by violating the Public Health Act, Chief Medical Officer of Health Order, Public Health Inspector Order, and a Court of Queen’s Bench Order. AHS continues to work within the legislation and cooperatively with the RCMP.
Appearing on Tucker Carlson
Erin Coates has continued to share about her husband’s imprisonment. She recorded a segment with Fox’s Tucker Carlson, which will be airing tonight. She explains that it took an effort to record the segment, after being barred from one of the studios.
I’m so thankful for local guys who helped me out, originally I was booked at CFRN CTV news studio – I went through all their ‘rona protocols and the studio called the next day telling Tucker’s assistant that they reserve the right to deny any guest and they didn’t feel comfortable with me in their studio. It left us scrambling and pushed taping an extra day. I guess I don’t fit their narrative after they have butchered my husband and church on their media outlets.
James Time in Prison + His Health
Today marks the 30th day Pastor Coates has been in prison, after being arrested on February 16th. Erin shares that his health is struggling, but they are leaning on the provision of Christ to see them through this.
James is out of quarantine and in general population. This gives him about 3 hours out of his cell a day for exercise, showering, talking to the inmates, and calling our lawyer and the children and I.
He gets about three 20-minute calls a day and one 25-minute video call. The prison does not allow visitors so this is the only way we can see him. It’s quite difficult when I have the children because only one person can hear and talk to him at a time. So we get about 8 mins each. It’s about a 45-minute drive for us to head into the city to do this.
In the last year, James has been showing signs of Celiac disease so he eats GF [gluten free] in the jail, the calories in the meals aren’t enough to sustain him but he is able to order what is called a “canteen” to supplement his food. The canteen doesn’t have great options and this food is causing his health issues to surface.
I’ve tried my best to tweak it for him from afar. This has been hard for me; our whole marriage I have taken care of him and now I can’t. My care for him has taken on a different face in this season. I know this is what we need to grow in further dependence on Christ. As @drstevenjlawson said in his #nonshepcon message 2 weeks ago, ‘I supply the weakness, He supplies the power.’ We are learning contentment. Please pray for James. The enemy appears to attack him extra hard on Sundays. He longs to be with us. Not having fellowship for 4 weeks (and potentially until the middle of May) is hard…even the apostle Paul was able to have visitors!
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction. (Philippians 3:11-14)
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