Portland, Ore., Feb 4, 2022 / 15:19 pm
The Episcopal Diocese of Oregon and St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church are suing the city of Brookings, Oregon, after the city passed an ordinance in October limiting the number of times they could distribute free food to the homeless.
The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court in Medford, Ore. on Jan. 28, claims that the city is infringing upon their right to freedom of religious expression. The lawsuit requests that the court void Brookings’ ordinance.
In October, the city council unanimously approved an ordinance restricting churches in residential areas, like St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, from serving the homeless more than twice a week. The ordinance went into effect on Jan. 26.
Previously, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church would serve meals free of charge to the homeless as many as six days a week. Churches were informed that they would have to get permits in order to feed the homeless, and were limited to providing two free meals per week. St. Timothy’s Episcopal has so far refused to file for these permits.