The Underground Church of GraceLife Continues to Gather in Secret

With the long, twisted, sickly, and decrepit arm of the law out in full force in Alberta, issuing fines and arresting pastors who dare to have open church services in defiance of the 15-person indoor maximum, or 5-person outdoor limit, GraceLife Church continues to meet in secret, worshipping their God and having services hidden away from the public view.

They are not the only ones. We are aware of at least 4 more congregations in Canada who have proactively chosen to meet in secret, taking the drastic steps before the fines get any worse or before they accrue more scrutiny or attention from the government.

For one church in Central to Eastern Canada that will remain nameless, already being subject to an undisclosed amount of dollars in fines, every Saturday evening congregants receive a text message from one of the three elders informing them where their location will be for the service the next day. Though this church uses basic SMS, we are aware of another congregation whose pastor encouraged all members to install Telegram on their phones, in order to give them better end-to-end encryption while planning their meet-up.

The church has accrued a list of 5 different locations where they are able to meet. Being fairly rural, most of the locations are either farms of members or acreages of friends of members that are sympathetic to the cause. These locations range from about 12 miles away, all the way to 80 miles (130km) though they have not yet had to use that furthest site. The sites are all private and their preferred location requires congregants to travel down gravel roads to get there, ensuring that the 30 or so vehicles that make the trek cannot be seen by neighbors once they turn off the highway, being given coverage by the trees on both sides.

The locations are rotated through at random and are all outside, save one that is inside a barn and is only used if it is raining or on account of inclement weather. Everyone turns off their phones as soon as they leave their home, out of an overabundance of caution.

The church has eschewed instruments and has taken to singing acapella instead, rather than have to run power to their location. They take communion every week, and the pastor raises his voice to preach – the congregation is small enough so as not to require amplification. Everyone sits on lawn chairs or spread blankets out on the ground, where babies flail on their bellies and toddlers will color or crawl around between people, the sermon punctuated by the sound of slapping as mosquitoes flitter around.

The church says they will not gather back at their location until the prosecution eases up and they can gather at 75% building capacity without being harassed, fined, or thrown in jail.

Turning back to GraceLife church, we imagine that they have similar contingencies in place.

That church has been meeting now for the last six weeks in secret, with their last service at their property being April 4, 2021. They have at least two different locations between which they alternate, according to hints from the video, and have taken steps to mitigate discovery that we are not at liberty to mention here, but which warms the cockles of our hearts.

Once the site of hundreds of protesters, the old chained-up church sits empty, with security guards still monitoring the property lest the congregants break in and gather for an illegal service in their absence.

Before, a media maelstrom was upon them, but now, they haven’t been mentioned in the news in over a month, even as the government of Alberta has stepped up their pressure and policing of wayward churches who wish to meet. The province has doubled the fines from $1000 to $2000 and announced they are partnering with several agencies, including Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis, AHS, OHS, and provincial prosecutors to target repeat offenders and those who are refusing to bend the knee to Ceasar.

GraceLife continues to upload videos of their services, still drawing hundreds of parishioners, but they are markedly different now. Gone is the inclusion of worship in their videos, showing which musicians are on stage singing. There are no more tracking shots of the congregants worshipping – something that was a mainstay in previous months, or images of them listening intently to the sermon. Now, their content only features Pastors James Coates or Jacob Spenst in front of a non-descript grey background, the camera cropped to remove any trace of location hints or giveaways.

Last year they were averaging 350-400 viewers person sermon video watched. Now, the last five videos have 14K, 9K, 8.2K, 13K, and 107K views.

Alberta Health Services spokesman Kerry Williamson, the mouthpiece of the chief prosecutor of churches Dr. Dina Hinshaw, told the Edmonton Journal that she’s well aware that the underground Chruch of GraceLife is having services and posting videos of their sermons, but doesn’t have the ability to enforce health measures, noting:

AHS Environmental Public Health can only investigate if we have an address or location. We currently do not have that.

We are glad you don’t have it, and we hope you never will.


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10 thoughts on “The Underground Church of GraceLife Continues to Gather in Secret

  1. Curious as to why, after seeing the very words “Please do not share the message with anyone,” you chose to publish it for the whole world to see. You’ve narrowed the search to a farm address with at least the letter “g” in it, and also provided the timestamp, making it easier for authorities to investigate. Way to go!

  2. Just because “discernment is a gift of the Spirit” doesn’t mean “staff writer” has it.

    They need to stick to the faux-drama Kyle J Howard stories and debunking angel stories from pink-haired charismatics.

  3. There is far too much information on this article… you realize these church’s could have their pastors arrested and congregants fined if they were discovered? There’s no need to go into ANY detail about where they meet or how they meet. This is not respectful of the risk these church’s are taking each week. You’re doing half the work for the police, AHS, and main stream media. This should be remedied or pulled down immediately.

  4. If this was China you would have probably jeopardized the entire congregation just with that tid-bit of location/s detail/s. Underground means just that… Stick to the charismatic unicorn stories.

  5. I actually do not have enough information on this situation to comment. But I did write about it at theologyarchaeology and maybe churches could go there and learn something.

  6. “Staff Writer” if you write something you should sign your name. Otherwise it isn’t worthy of printing. If you signed your name we would all know around the world who has given the enemy information due to indiscretion. We see it has either a “g” or “y” and a “p” in the address, as well as RR2. Then you let the enemy of Christ know it is at the properties of parishioners or their friends, even tho that would be obvious. It’s now known they meet in rural areas, and their parking is secluded by trees, etc. They could have met in large empty buildings where their vehicles could park as well to not be seen, but now we all know it is strictly rural locations. Good thing Canada isn’t China… yet. You just are not the smartest tool in the shed, or are you? This was the first article I’ve read from this news source, I’m disappointed. No need to pull the article since the enemy of Christ has surely seen it by now. Please be a little smarter in the future, or perhaps you may want to pay their steep fines for them once they are located. Also, don’t believe everything the enemy reports, such as not having the ability to search people out. With people like you handing out info they don’t need much to track with.

  7. In the future, please redact better. Someone who is familiar with the area could peg it quickly. I am not familiar with the area (I live over 3,000 miles away) and pegged it within a few minutes. As some have pointed out, the low hanging letters were left, and the spacing can be worked out.

    Its amazing in range.
    Don’t bake or fry it around the corner.
    I hope you understand what I mean.

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