My name is Ralph Lopez and I pastor a small church plant named Refinery Christian Fellowship. We’re in Point Richmond, Contra Costa County, California.
We were sent out from a Calvary Chapel Church in Oakland Ca, and had been meeting in our home for a little over a year. We at the Calvary’s believe that, where God guides, God provides, so, there isn’t much financial support, if any.
Of course, our Lord did provide increase, so, when it was finally time to move out of our home, we set our sites on the Point Richmond Community Center. There are other Calvary Chapels that rent from their cities, so we thought it logical to try ours, especially since we feel called to minister to our particular neighborhood.
It’s at a great location, right in the middle of down town, plenty of parking, the price is right, and it’s a good fit for who we are, around 20 people or so. But when we asked for the application, we were told, and it was in bold writing at the top of the application, that they did not rent to churches or religious organizations. They would only rent a larger, much more expensive civic center to us.
Well, a few months earlier, I had heard of a ruling made by a judge in our county, that, that sort of thing was illegal and that a church was now allowed to rent from a library a couple of towns over in our same county. I then found the ruling on line, presented it to the city and found who represented the other pastor. It was the ADF.
I called them on the phone and within an hour got a callback from Daniel Blomberg.
I basically told him what happened, what I did, and He patiently walked me through the whole process. The ADF sent a letter to the mayor, city attorney, and the city manager, notifying them that they violated the churches rights, demanding that they change their policy. Within a matter of weeks, I received a call and was told that the city changed their policy.
We have been renting the community center for one month now and it’s been a great move thus far.
We at Refinery are extremely grateful for what Daniel and the ADF have done for us, God’s church, free of charge. Yes, the Lord has been providing but we know we wouldn’t have been able to afford a lawyer. And since the Lord has been so faithful in directing our every move, we know that He provided the ADF to His church, for His glory.
The ADF is a great organization and I would encourage anyone who feels that their rights are being violated, just call.
The ADF is truly defending our rights to hear and speak the truth.
Thanks ADF and God bless
Do you know someone who would want to learn more about his or her constitutionally protected rights as a pastor?