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Rhode Island Church Pleads with City to Continue Meeting in Park

Carrie Dedrick | Friday, May 20, 2016

Rhode Island Church Pleads with City to Continue Meeting in Park

A church congregation that meets in a Providence, Rhode Island park is seeking permission to continue to meet there, despite the city’s demand to meet elsewhere. 

Providence Journal reports that the Church Beyond the Walls gathers at Burnside Park every Saturday for an hour and a half. The congregation is a mismatched group, including homeless people and addicts. 

Recently, the parks department superintendent Wendy Nilsson told the Church Beyond the Walls that they needed to meet else, as a Providence city ordinance states religious gatherings are banned in public parks and they did not have a permit. 

The Church Beyond the Walls is now pleading with the city to stay. 

Rev. Linda Forsberg said, “We are one of the few things in their lives that they can count on. They appreciate us just showing up week after week after week at 2. They know we will be there to gather and offer a word of support and spiritual strength and really be a community there within the park.”

Attendee Michelle St. Pierre has been attending the Church Beyond the Walls services for three years. 

“I’ve been through a lot of trials and tribulations with my family, my family passing away. The church actually comforted me. Something about them — they fill your heart with so much love it's not even funny. I don’t want to see them leave,” she said. 

Publication date: May 20, 2016