Congregant Dies After Seizure. City Wouldn’t Let Him Stay at Dad’s Place Church.

May 10, 2024
Man Dies Dad's Place | First Liberty Insider

by Jorge Gomez • 3 min read

In Bryan, Ohio, the city’s ongoing crusade to shut down Pastor Chris Avell and Dad’s Place Church is taking a devastating toll on people who need help. The city is doing everything it can to stop this church from carrying out its ministry—and the community is suffering because of it.

We recently learned of someone who tragically died after the city would not let him stay at the church.

The city’s continued harassment regarding people staying overnight at Dad’s Place pressured the church to move the congregant, who suffered from seizures, to an apartment. The man had said he preferred staying at Dad’s Place and felt safer staying there because he did not want to be alone at night given his medical condition. The city has repeatedly filed criminal charges against the pastor for keeping the doors open 24/7 to care for people in need.

Fearing retribution by the city, Dad’s Place asked the congregant to set aside his reservations and relocate to the apartment. On April 12, the congregant suffered another seizure episode while staying alone at the apartment and died.

What the city is doing to Pastor Chris and Dad’s Place is repugnant. Its blatant hostility has quite literally become a matter of life and death.

This is not just about the city engaging in unlawful religious discrimination and defying a court order that said it couldn’t take enforcement actions against this church. This is about the people in that community whose lives and physical wellbeing are at stake. Dad’s Place 24/7 ministry is a lifeline for people who have nowhere else to go.

As Pastor Chris has said, he and his congregation are not there to “play church.” They take their ministry, their outreach and their calling seriously. They’re keeping the doors open 24 hours a day so they can care and minister to the sick, the hungry, the homeless and anyone who needs the church’s help.

“My faith demands that I take action and that I lay down my life in love. It demands not just that I say that I love you, but that I live that out through my actions,” says Pastor Chris. “I am compelled by my love for Christ to lay down my life for anyone who walks through the doors at Dad’s Place.”

Houses of worship do tremendous work to care for the most vulnerable. Their ministry and charitable work doesn’t just change people’s lives. In many cases, it saves their lives.

It’s appalling when the mayor of a city and local officials abuse their position to vindictively go after good Samaritans like Pastor Chris. This harassment must stop. This can’t be allowed to happen in America.

It’s clear that Bryan Mayor Carrie Schlade will not rest until Pastor Chris is in jail. First Liberty isn’t going to let that happen. We’re going to keep fighting this in court to the very end. No pastor in our country should fear going to jail for ministering and opening the doors of his church to people in need.

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