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GraceLife church at full capacity for another Sunday service

Last Updated Feb 22, 2021 at 7:05 am MDT

EDMONTON (CityNews) – A church just west of Edmonton that has been defying public-health guidelines held another packed service on Sunday.

The GraceLife church in Parkland County was at full fire code capacity and asked some people to stay outside and watch the sermon that was being livestreamed.

Fire code capacity is well above the 15 per cent capacity limit designated by public-health regulations.

 

RCMP said in a news release that they, along with Alberta Health Services (AHS), observed that GraceLife Church held a service that exceeded provincially set gathering limits meant to curb the spread of the virus.

They said police will continue to investigate and decide what to do in consultation with health officials.

“Observations were made that the church held a service beyond the designated capacity,” read a brief Parkland RCMP statement.

In recent weeks, services have been held without certain guidelines being enforced, including mask-wearing and occupancy limits.

The church has been fined for non-compliance and been criticized by Premier Jason Kenney.

GraceLife Pastor James Coates was arrested last week when the church continued to hold services that police allege violated COVID-19 restrictions, and he remains in custody for refusing to agree to bail conditions.

Associate pastor Jacob Spenst conducted Sunday’s service in his place, telling the congregation that messages of support have been pouring in.

Spenst said he spoke with Coates earlier in the morning and the pastor sounded strong.

-With files from The Canadian Press