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Florida City Drops Case Against Family's In-Home Prayer Meetings

  • Religion Today
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2012 Oct 08
  • Comments

The city of Venice, Fla., has dropped its case against a family who was accused of having an unauthorized "house of worship" in their home, which the family says is just a weekly prayer gathering and Bible study, the Christian Post reports. Shane and Marlene Roessiger, who lead a small ministry called In Him Healing Touch Ministries, will be able to continue hosting Friday prayer meetings in their home without facing any penalties, after Venice's code enforcement board voted 6-0 in favor of dropping the case. According to the Pacific Justice Institute, the city's code enforcement board was led to think the Roessigers were operating an unauthorized house of worship when they had their ministry's mail sent to their home for a while instead of a rented post office box. Since houses of worship in Venice are not permitted on property less than two acres, the Roessigers were facing a $250-per-day fine for their gatherings. Additionally, they were threatened with a $250-per-day fine for posting a small sign in their yard that read "Need Prayer" along with their phone number. However, after a PJI attorney sent a letter informing city officials that the couple's corporate mailing address had been changed and arguing that the city's sign ordinance was constitutionally flawed because it made exceptions for political signs, the city dropped both issues. "We applaud officials from the city of Venice for changing course in this matter," said Brad Dacus, PJI president.