Rev. Larry Rice, President
February 13, 2015
On December 23rd the St. Louis Board of Public Service issued an order that may prove to be not only a major assault on the homeless, but also one of the greatest local government attacks on the right of churches to practice their religious beliefs. The order declared that by May 12, 2015 New Life must provide documentation that it has reduced its occupancy to 32 persons (for the past 30 days), or else lose its right to provide any shelter at all. Such a travesty of justice comes as a result of neighborhood gentrification and its push to keep the homeless out of sight and out of mind.
At New Life Evangelistic Center we strongly believe that the Scriptures teach that the provision of shelter is a function of worship. Since 1911 the 1411 Locust building has been used, first by the YWCA and then by New Life Evangelistic Center, to engage in servicing those in need.
In order to preserve the right to provide shelter and other direct services to the homeless, in accordance with the mandates of scripture, NLEC is retaining the services of the national legal defense team Dalton and Tomich from Detroit, Michigan to join our local firm of Brown and James. Together they will pursue in the federal courts, New Life’s right to fulfill its religious mission under the Religious Land and Institutional Act, the first and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution and the Missouri Religious Restoration Act.
While such actions are being taken to Federal Court, NLEC is also taking steps to open a shelter in Illinois. This must be done in order that the homeless in Illinois will not be adding to the growing numbers of people coming to 1411 Locust in St. Louis.
I urgently need your prayers now for an immediate $77,000 miracle. This includes $55,000 to open the Illinois shelter by Easter and $22,000 in legal expenses that need to be raised in the next two weeks. New Life Evangelistic Center must have the strongest possible legal defense to retain the right to shelter anyone in need who comes to 1411 Locust in St. Louis. In order to do this immediate legal action needs to be taken to request a preliminary injunction to keep the city of St. Louis from forcing NLEC on May 12th from putting all of the homeless out of the shelter, if its population is not reduced by April 12th.
With New Life Evangelistic Center being the last major walk-in shelter in Mid America, the lives of the hurting and homeless are depending on your involvement now.
Please join me in praying for the financial miracle of $77,000 to come in during the next two weeks. For many of the sick and elderly like Jeanette, Steve, Anita and Becky it is a matter of life and death. If we did not have the shelter capability at 1411 Locust and the opportunity for the new shelter in Illinois, it would cost NLEC over $180,000 a month to place those presently sheltered in inexpensive hotel rooms.
Thank you again for your prayers and for sharing your most generous gift at this critical moment in the lives of the hurting and homeless.
Yours in Christ,