Town prosecuting church pastor for helping people

 January 12, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

It's a crime in one Ohio town to try to help the homeless by giving them a warm place to sleep during winter's life-threatening cold.

At least, that's the message from the prosecution of Pastor Chris Avell of Dad's Place, a church in Bryan, Ohio, for allowing the homeless to spend a night in the church.

First Liberty lawyer Jeremy Dys explained, "The city would rather kick these folks to the curb in the cold outdoor months of December and early January than allow the church to remain open 24/7 to those who need it the most.

"It’s unconscionable. We’re going to hold them accountable."

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The legal team said Avell is facing 18 criminal counts, and zoning law violations because he opened his church to help the homeless.

The battle erupted just weeks ago when the city told him by letter to stop helping the homeless by allowing them in the building. Then on New Year's Eve, police showed up.

"They handed the pastor a packet of multiple charges and violations," the legal team's report said.

Avell said, during an interview, "I was spiritually homeless and God provided a home for me. He’s put a burden on my heart for the homeless. Many of these people have been rejected by their families and cast aside by their communities. So, if the church isn’t willing to lay down its life for them, then who will? This is what we’re called to do."

He said his facility is a church, not a homeless shelter, but it offers small accommodations such as a shower, or the opportunity to do laundry.

He said he began opening his building because the local homeless shelter was often full.

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