Featured Image
Sign indicating a church is closed due to COVID-19Shutterstock

CONTACT YOUR MP: Free Pastor Coates and protect people of faith! Contact your MP, here.

February 26, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – A growing number of churches have declared they must gather for in person worship, “with or without the permission of the civil authorities.”

“Beyond science, and every natural reason we can give, we ultimately bow the knee and pledge our lives to King Jesus who is the Head of the Church and our only Sovereign,” reads The Church Must Gather statement. “We the undersigned, believe that churches or believers must continue to gather in person for public worship with or without the permission of the civil authorities.”

The Church Must Gather declaration was launched by The Liberty Coalition Canada, “a national network of clergymen, elected officials, small business owners, legal experts and other concerned citizens.”

“A variety of urgent concerns face our nation. Alone we are incapable of producing meaningful change, but together, with a clear vision for a better future, we can bring about change for the good of all Canadians,” reads the Liberty Coalition’ website. “Liberty Coalition Canada exists to bring thoughtful Canadians together to lobby for a better way forward.”

Currently, over 1,600 individuals have signed the declaration, which is open for all to sign.

Church signatures are mainly from Canadian churches and include some from Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. There are also a few churches from the U.S. and the U.K. that have signed on.

The Church Must Gather declaration states that “public worship is a non-negotiable principle.” It includes multiple Bible passages relating to the love of God, church, and neighbor.

Among those who signed is Fairview Baptist Church in Calgary, Alberta, whose Senior Pastor Tim Stephens recently defied local COVID rules regarding worship size with a Sunday service.

Stephens noted in a statement that a growing number of churches in Alberta and other provinces are “standing together, united under The Church Must Gather statement.”

Stephens is a friend of Alberta Pastor James Coates of Grace Life Church, who was jailed last week for ministering to his congregation.

CONTACT YOUR MP: Free Pastor Coates and protect people of faith! Contact your MP, here.

An Alberta judge earlier this week set a three-day trial date for Coates from May 3 to 5. Coates and Grace Life are being represented by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF).

Church of God Pastor Henry Hildebrandt, based in Aylmer, Ontario, made the trip to Edmonton, Alberta, to join a recent protest in support of Coates. He said on Twitter that he was “happy” to see “so many Christian freedom fighters come to the maximum security Remand Centre today” to fight for religious freedom. 

Hildebrandt has been a vocal opponent to government-imposed COVID-19 lockdown measures, and has himself, along with others from his congregation, received fines for defying the local health orders. 

The Liberty Coalition of Canada has also called for a “week of prayer and fasting” for Canada, from February 28 to March 6, and has encouraged all “Christian Churches in Canada” to join them.

Hildebrandt, whose Aylmer church signed the declaration, called on everyone to join him and others to be united in a week of prayer and fasting.

The Liberty Coalition of Canada is also behind the “End the Lockdowns National Caucus,” which is a non-partisan group of current and former elected politicians with the common aim to end all “lockdowns” in Canada.

LifeSiteNews asks readers to take the time to defend the religious liberty of Canadians by filling out our VoterVoice Alert to free Pastor Coates.