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Trial date set for Alberta pastor who held church services despite health orders

Last Updated Feb 24, 2021 at 11:38 am MDT

A truck arrives at GraceLife church outside Edmonton. (CREDIT: CityNews Edmonton)

STONY PLAIN – A trial date has been set for a pastor of an Edmonton-area church that has been holding Sunday services in violation of COVID-19 rules.

James Coates with GraceLife Church in Spruce Grove did not appear in court Wednesday as a three-day trial was set to start May 3.

Coates, who was arrested last week and remanded in custody after refusing to agree to bail conditions, remains behind bars.

WATCH: Local pastor remains in jail


Several people gathered outside the Stony Plain courthouse in support of the pastor and urged Premier Jason Kenney to come to his senses and lift COVID-19 restrictions.

The church has been holding services that officials say break public-health regulations on attendance, masking and distancing.

Coates was charged this month with violating the Public Health Act and breaking a promise to abide by rules of his bail release, which is a Criminal Code offence.