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GraceLife church defied health regulations again: RCMP

Last Updated Feb 14, 2021 at 2:45 pm MDT

A truck arrives at GraceLife church outside Edmonton. The church has been ordered to close after continously defying public health orders. (CREDIT: CityNews Edmonton)

EDMONTON (CityNews) – Police say the GraceLife church, located just west of Edmonton, defied health orders again on Sunday.

Parkland RCMP attended the church alongside Alberta Health Services officials. They say the Sunday-morning service was not in compliance with regulations – the church was at more than 15 per cent capacity and people did not respect physical distancing.

RCMP says the outcome of its investigation into the church and its pastor James Coates is expected sometime this week.

“To be very clear, the RCMP’s objective is not to interrupt church services, prohibit services, nor deny peoples’ right to practice their religion – merely to ensure that public health restrictions are adhered to while doing so,” said Insp. Mike Lokken in a release.

Coates was charged last week with violating one count of the Public Health Act. He is expected to appear in Stony Plain provincial court on Mar. 31.