Rancho Cucamonga, a city in Southern California, is demanding that a small home Bible study group stop meeting because it does not have an expensive permit. The permit is not required for similar-sized gatherings in homes, such as book clubs, birthday parties or gatherings centered around sporting events. City officials have also indicated that they might not even grant a permit if it is requested. The city's stance has similarities to, but is perhaps even harsher than, a pending situation in Gilbert, Arizona, and a flare-up last year over a home Bible study in San Diego County.
In Rancho Cucamonga, the Bible study group, which meets on Friday nights, averages about fifteen attendees. The group is affiliated with Shiloh Tabernacle, which rents out a community center for its Sunday morning service and, like countless other churches across the country, offers smaller Bible studies that meet in members' homes during the week.
The City of Rancho Cucamonga has sent a letter to the homeowner insisting that the home Bible study is not allowed because it is a "church," and churches require a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) in residential areas. The City has also indicated that no CUP would be granted and the gatherings must cease by Good Friday, April 2.
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