Criminally Charged with Compassion


Pastor Chris Avell is facing criminal charges. His alleged crime? Ministering to the community of Bryan, Ohio 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

No matter the time of day, Pastor Chris wants to keep the doors of his church open as a refuge for those in need. But city officials are blocking him from helping the vulnerable. He has been hit with nearly two dozen criminal charges. And First Liberty will not let Pastor Chris stand alone in this battle.

Pastor Chris Avell | First Liberty


City Files Criminal Charges AGAIN

City officials in Bryan, Ohio won’t stop harassing Dad’s Place Church. They are again filing criminal charges against Pastor Chris Avell. They also sent police and fire officials to the chruch for a surprise inspection and threatened the church with fines. The city is violating a court order from back in January, which made clear that the city could not take any enforcement actions against the church.

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Backlash Against a Good Samaritan?

What the city is doing to Pastor Chris and Dad’s Place Church is wrong. Accusing him of being a criminal for making his ministry available to anyone in need 24 hours a day is blatant discrimination. It’s unconscionable and betrays what religious liberty in our country is all about.

The city’s antagonism is beyond the pale. Officials have refused multiple times to meet with us and Pastor Chris to resolve the issue. They’ve also made some very discouraging statements about the church,  painting Pastor Chris as a criminal and saying that “inappropriate activity” was happening at Dad’s Place.

Houses of worship in America have a constitutionally protected right to serve the people around them… without government threatening or accusing them of criminal behavior.

It’s Time to Stand Tall and End the Discrimination

Join First Liberty today to see that Pastor Chris and his community get the justice they deserve. When you support First Liberty, you not only protect faith leaders like him, but also your own faith leaders and churches in your community.

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Alaska Quote Marks

“Instead of prosecuting a pastor in an effort to drive his congregation from her sight, the Mayor should be supporting a church trying to care for the marginalized. The Constitution and the law demand nothing less.”

– First Liberty Senior Counsel, Jeremy Dys

Jeremy Dys | First Liberty Institute

Is it Criminal to Keep a Church Open?

This mission is personal for Pastor Chris. He says that serving the most vulnerable is God’s calling for his life, which goes back more than 15 years.

Pastor Chris once considered himself an atheist. In 2009, God changed his mind, his heart and his path. Since then, his passion has been sharing his Christian faith with others. He believes ministering to people in need is what he is called to do. If you want to hear more about his story moving from an atheist to a pastor, watch this video by clicking here.

Singling out sanctuaries like Dad’s Place only hurts our fellow Americans in need. When it comes to helping the marginalized in our country, we should encourage cooperation between church and state. And that starts by the government following the law and treating houses of worship fairly.

After all, when religious organizations are free to live out their faith and serve their neighbors, all Americans win.

Pastor Charged | First Liberty Insider

Stand with Pastor Chris

God put a special calling on this pastor’s heart. And yet, the government is insisting on criminally charging him and threatening the vulnerable in his community.

Neither you nor I can afford to stand by when everyday Americans like Pastor Chris are punished for living out their faith.

That’s why it’s time to take a bold stand for faith and those in need in Bryan, Ohio.

Will you stand in the fight for Pastor Chris?

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