Press Releases

Texas City Drops Effort to Take Property from Church

May 5, 2021

News Release
For Immediate Release: 5.5.21
Contact: Lacey McNiel,
Direct: 972-941-4453

Texas City Drops Effort to Take Property from Church
First Liberty Institute defended church from the City of Duncanville’s attempt to seize church property using eminent domain

Dallas, TX— Officials with the City of Duncanville (TX) withdrew their condemnation petition to seize Canaan Baptist Church’s property through eminent domain.  In October, First Liberty Institute and Winston & Strawn LLP filed a motion to dismiss the petition, arguing that the City’s effort to take the property was a violation of the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Dr. Jarvis Baker, pastor of Canaan Baptist said, “We praise God that the battle to keep our property is over. We are eager to continue using it to minister to the community. We want to thank the City for ending this conflict.”

“Canaan Baptist Church believes that God gave the Church this property to fulfill its religious mission,” said Keisha Russell, Counsel for First Liberty Institute.  “The church is relieved, and we are grateful that the City made this decision.”

Canaan Baptist is a small, Christian church founded in 1969 that ministers to the Duncanville and South Dallas community. Currently, the Church uses the property to serve the local community by holding, among other events, clothing drives and youth activity days.  On August 28, 2020, the City of Duncanville filed a Petition for Condemnation in Dallas County Court against the church.  Recently, however, the City began to pursue other property instead and dropped its effort against Canaan Baptist.


About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is a non-profit public interest law firm and the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

To arrange an interview, contact Lacey McNiel at or by calling 972-941-4453.

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