Police vehicles and unmarked SUVs blocked the entrance to the church around 8am on Wednesday as authorities erected chained fencing around the building’s perimeter.
Artur Pawlowski, Pastor of Cave of Adullam Church in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, shouted down the officers who he accused of entering the premises without a warrant.
Pastor Coates gave the exclusive interview with Sheila Gunn Reid of Rebel News on Monday where he detailed his time behind bars, his ministry opportunities while in prison, and his message to those responsible for his imprisonment.
“The men who are being persecuted and the churches that are being persecuted are asserting the supremacy of Jesus Christ over the church in a way that offends the government that wants to be supreme over the church.”
“I am not a political revolutionary,” Pastor Coates said before the court. “I am simply here in obedience with Jesus Christ, it is this obedience that put me at odds with the law.”
Erin described the ordeal as “heartbreaking” and an emotional rollercoaster for the Coates’ young children, but said their hope remains “in the perfect sovereign will of God.”
Pastor Coates has been imprisoned in the Edmonton Remand Centre since February 16, after he refused to sign a bail condition, which his lawyers described as effectively promising “to stop exercising his Charter freedoms of conscience, religion, expression, association, and peaceful assembly.”
“We are gravely concerned that C0VID-19 is being used to fundamentally alter society and strip us all of our civil liberties,” the church said in a statement.
The arrest and imprisonment of Pastor Coates has not deterred the church from continuing to gather for Sunday worship.
The court’s ruling has established a precedent that a person’s vocal doubts around COVID-19 can be a factor in child custody cases.
Pastor Coates was denied bail just one week after the same prison released a convicted child rapist, forcing police to issue a warning to the public to stay vigilant as it’s likely the rapist will offend again.
“They were at the end of their rope and hurting, but thought that maybe there was something worth believing when they heard we’d be having services.”
Alberta Premier, Jason Kenney, is facing increased backlash after a pastor was jailed for conducting worship services in defiance of state-enforced restrictions which deemed church a non-essential practice.
“I read to my children the work the Lord is doing in people through James so they can see the sacrifice of their father is not in vain.”