News by email Donate


World News

Canadian pastor jailed for breaking Covid rules released

James Coates.PNG - Banner image
Instagram: erincoates80

A Canadian pastor who was arrested and held in custody in Canada for violating Covid-19 restrictions by holding in-person services has been released. 

James Coates of GraceLife Church has been fined $1,500, a reduced penalty as a result of the 35 days he spent in jail. He could have been fined $2,000 or sentenced to six months in prison. 

Father of two, Pastor Coates was charged on 7th February with breaching compulsory distancing and capacity restrictions. He was then released on the condition that he would not breach the restrictions again, but a week later the authorities attended the church and saw further violations. 

Pastor Coates turned himself in to authorities on 16th February after being charged with contravention of the Public Health Act and had been in custody since then. 

Appearing in court on Monday, local media reported that he defended his stance saying, "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."

His wife Erin posted a picture on Instagram of the four reuniting. 


GraceLife Church continued holding in-person services while Pastor Coates was in jail and had been monitored by health services that had already accused the church of breaching Covid regulations. 

Pastor Coates is now due to face trial for a remaining charge of violating Covid-19 restrictions in May. 

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email