Ohio Church Wins Big Against City’s Overreach

In a stunning triumph for religious freedom, a church in Bryan, Ohio, has emerged victorious after city officials backed down from pursuing criminal charges against the church’s homeless ministry. Dad’s Place, as the church is called, had been operating a residential homeless ministry round the clock since March 2023, providing much-needed shelter and resources to those in need. But apparently, city officials didn’t appreciate this act of compassion and threatened to file criminal charges. Well, looks like they learned their lesson!

The church wasted no time and filed a lawsuit against the city in January, with the help of First Liberty Institute, a legal powerhouse that fights for religious freedom. And boy, did they make an impact! Just a month after the lawsuit was filed, the city caved and agreed to drop any charges and even allowed the church to pursue zoning permits for its ministry’s residential use. Talk about a win for the good guys!

Of course, Mayor Carrie Schlade had to say her piece, offering some lukewarm words of appreciation for Dad’s Place. But let’s not kid ourselves, it was the church that had to do all the heavy lifting here. They were willing to work with the city to find a resolution, and instead of continuing their foolish crusade against the homeless, the city finally saw reason. Kudos to Dad’s Place for being the voice of compassion in a sea of bureaucracy!

Now, the city officials claimed that they had to respond to all sorts of scary incidents, like criminal mischief, trespassing, overdoses, and even sexual assault. But hold on just a minute. The church argued that the only reason these incidents required police attention was because the department actively encouraged homeless individuals to seek help at the ministry. So if anything, the church was making the city’s job easier by providing a safe space for these people. Maybe the city should be thanking them instead of threatening them.

But what really irks our conservative sensibilities is the fact that the city had the audacity to give the church a mere seven days to resolve all their alleged problems. Talk about a rushed timeline! The church argued that some issues required state approval and that seven days were just not enough. And they were absolutely right. I mean, really, how can anyone expect the church to jump through all those bureaucratic hoops in such a short amount of time? It’s like they wanted them to fail.

Thankfully, the church and the city have reached an agreement that allows the ministry to continue its valuable work. Dad’s Place has committed to implementing additional safety measures and obtaining the necessary zoning permits to comply with the city’s laws. And in the meantime, they have agreed to close the residential portion of the ministry until everything is in order. It’s great to see that both parties are willing to work towards a final resolution.

Pastor Chris Avell, the hero of this story, expressed his gratitude to everyone involved and his eagerness to continue serving his community. And we couldn’t be happier for him and the church. They have shown that compassion and the power of faith can triumph over bureaucratic nonsense. This victory should serve as a shining example to other cities, reminding them of the importance of religious freedom and the positive impact that ministries like Dad’s Place can have on communities. Well done, Bryan, Ohio, for finally seeing the light!

Written by Staff Reports

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