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GraceLife church beyond capacity again Sunday, RCMP on hand to ‘gather evidence’

Last Updated Feb 28, 2021 at 2:21 pm MDT

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

EDMONTON (CityNews) – Alberta RCMP continue to explore ways of dealing with the church near Edmonton that again broke public-health guidelines on Sunday.

GraceLife church in Parkland County, Alta., held a sermon beyond designated capacity for yet another Sunday.

Parkland RCMP say they attended the gathering alongside Alberta Health Services in order to “gather evidence.”

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

“The Parkland RCMP remain engaged in continued consultations with several partner agencies to determine the most productive course of action in relation to the church,” RCMP said in a statement.

“When there is an outcome to report, one will be provided.”

Meanwhile the church’s pastor James Coates was arrested two weeks ago and remanded in custody after refusing to agree to bail conditions.

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

Police fined the church $1,200 in December and a closure order was issued in January.

Coates has addressed the province’s health restrictions in his sermons, telling worshippers that governments exist as instruments of God and there should be unfettered freedom of worship.

–with files from The Canadian Press