House of Prayer Wins Legal Battle Over Weekly Meetings

prayer circle
Prayer works—at least it works for a Venice, Fla. couple who faced a legal battle with the city’s Code Enforcement Board.

After months of legal wrangling—and plenty of prayer—the family has won the right to hold prayer meetings in its home.

Shane and Marlene Roessiger host a prayer meeting on Friday nights. Typically, six to 10 people join them. Venice city officials tried to ban the once-a-week prayer meeting because city codes don’t allow a “house of worship” on a property smaller than two acres.

Beyond the weekly prayer meetings, The Roessiger’s were also cited for posting a yard sign that read, "Need Prayer (941) 484-4915." The Roessigers faced fines of $250 per day for the violations. At the advice of the city attorney, the board voted 6 unanimously to drop the two matters at a hearing on Thursday.

The Pacific Justice Institute represented the family. In a letter to the city, attorney Kevin Snider informed officials that the Roessigers would continue to exercise their rights to the use and enjoyment of their property for prayer and Bible study. Snider’s letter also stated that the city’s sign ordinance suffered from constitutional defects because it has exceptions for political signs.

What say you? Should the government intrude on home Bible studies and prayer meetings? Should house churches be banned or allowed? Should certain restrictions apply or should property owners have free reign so long as they aren’t disturbing the peace?

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