Agape Resource and Assistance Center | Cases | First Liberty

Meet Agape Resource and Assistance Center, Inc.

Agape is a faith-based holistic servant ministry of peace and justice, committed to serve urgent or unmet housing, counseling and other service needs of women, their children and dependents, and unaccompanied youth in poverty and crisis.

Agape accomplishes this mission by providing services to vulnerable women and children in need to assist them toward their goal of a quality, self-sustainable life. Agape seeks to bring hope, light and love to as many women and children in need that it can in accordance with a biblical mandate.

Agape ministers to vulnerable women and children through monthly special dinners and Bible study meetings in one of its ministry homes, so that women and children in need can come together for instruction, encouragement, and inspiration.

But in May of 2014, Agape received a Cease and Desist Letter from the city of Plano, Texas, a large suburb in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, ordering them to “cease all business activities, training classes and all other Agape Resource and Assistance Center events or functions that include participants or attendees who are not household care facility residents or caregivers.” Agape turned to First Liberty Institute.

First Liberty Responds to City of Plano with Demand Letter

On June 10, 2014, First Liberty Institute and Dallas attorney Kirte M. Kinser sent a demand letter to the City of Plano for ordering the ministry to women and children in crisis to cease and desist meetings and counseling in the homes that Agape runs for women and children in crisis.

In the letter, Mr. Kinser and First Liberty Institute informed the City of Plano that placing an unlawful ban on Agape’s onsite counseling and monthly meetings for women and children in need violated state and federal statutory and constitutional law. Agape scheduled its next monthly meeting on June 17. Attorneys planned to proceed with legal action, unless the City of Plano lifted its unlawful ban by June 12, 2014 at noon.

Victory for Agape 

 Two days later and in keeping with First Liberty’s imposed deadline, the City of Plano issued a Letter Reversing Original Order, which said:

“It has come to the department’s attention that the aforementioned Notice was issued in error and should therefore be disregarded. Please accept our apology for the misunderstanding.”

“We are pleased the city acted quickly to rescind the ban on Agape and offer its support for this much needed ministry for women and children in crisis,” said Hiram Sasser, Deputy Chief Counsel for First Liberty.

 

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: June 10, 2014   

CITY OF PLANO BANS MINISTRY TO WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN CRISIS

Liberty Institute Sends Demand Letter to the City of Plano Asking the City to Stop Banning Faith-Based Meetings in Homes for Women and Children in Crisis


 PLANO, TEXAS, JUNE 10, 2014 – Today, Liberty Institute and Dallas lawyer Kirte M. Kinser, on behalf of their client Agape Resource and Assistance Center, Inc., sent a demand letter to the City of Plano for ordering the ministry to women and children in crisis to cease and desist meetings and counseling in the homes that Agape runs for women and children in crisis.

Agape is a faith-based holistic servant ministry of peace and justice, committed to serve urgent or unmet housing, counseling and other service needs of women, their children and dependents, and unaccompanied youth in poverty and crisis. Agape accomplishes this mission by providing services to vulnerable citizens in need to assist them toward their goal of a quality, self-sustainable life. Agape seeks to bring hope, light and love to as many women and children in need that it can in accordance with a Biblical mandate, and it frequently draws upon the Bible for inspiration, instruction and encouragement of those Agape serves.

In the letter, Mr. Kinser and Liberty Institute inform the City of Plano that placing an unlawful ban on Agape’s onsite counseling and monthly meetings for women and children in need violates state and federal statutory and constitutional law. Agape scheduled its next monthly meeting on June 17. Attorneys plan to proceed with legal action, unless the City of Plano lifts its unlawful ban by June 12 at Noon.

“It is unlawful and unjust for the City of Plano to ban the ministry of Agape Resource and Assistance from fulfilling its calling to serve local women and children in crisis,” said Hiram Sasser, Liberty Institute’s Director of Litigation. “We are hopeful that the City of Plano will lift its unlawful ban, and no further legal action will be necessary. This is an outrageous violation of our client’s religious freedom.”

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To download this press release, please click here.

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