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Follow us:. If you have grown spiritually through reading this daily devotional, would you help us continue to provide this resource by giving a generous gift? I really feel sorry for Eutychus. It was bad enough for the fella to fall asleep in church while Paul was preaching. But then, of all things, Dr. Luke included the incident for all the world to read. But then , of all things, Dr. Luke included the incident for all the world to read down through the centuries. Think of that!


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The only time Eutychus got his name in Scripture was when he died while sleeping in church. Makes you glad the Bible is complete, doesn't it? On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered together. And there was a young man named Eutychus sitting on the window sill, sinking into a deep sleep; and as Paul kept on talking, he was overcome by sleep and fell down from the third floor and was picked up dead.

Acts —9. If the same thing happened to sleepers today, every church would have to build a morgue in the basement. There isn't an experienced preacher who hasn't faced the most incredible sometimes hilarious slumbering saints in the pew. I've seen them bump their heads on the back of the pew in front of them. I've watched couples nod in magnificent rhythm, perfect timing. One student used to come to a church I formerly pastored and sit right down front. He was there every Sunday, resting his eyes. I honestly used to wonder why he bothered to get dressed and come to church in the first place.

And then there was the lady who had the strangest wheeze and smile when she exhaled while snoring—a shrill, stutter-like sound that reminded you of a chattering chimpanzee. She kinda looked like one when she slept, come to think of it. Now there's the question worth answering. Why do people sleep in church? Let me suggest several reasons. That's right. We are often trained to do it. As children we stretched out on the pew beside our parents and were encouraged to sleep rather than make a disturbance.

Habits are hard to break. Physical factors. Occasionally a church is not well ventilated or gets too warm and stuffy, almost "cozy. The flickering lamps brought warmth up where he was sitting plus a hypnotizing "spell" in the room. Poor lighting and obstructions of vision are additional causes. Personal factors. Lack of sufficient sleep during the week—or especially Saturday night—creates drowsiness on Sunday. Some medication makes us sleepy. Second, the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church is providing services to the homeless as an important part of its religious mission.

See Affidavit of Margaret Schafer Dec.

Bible Verses about Sleep

Working with this under-served population is a vital-part of our ministry. Tewell to Commissioner Bernard Kerik Dec. See Affidavit of Margaret Shafer Safir said that some churches had asked him not to arrest homeless people sleeping on their property.

They are entitled to encourage anybody they want to be there, and we certainly are not going to interfere with that.

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Times , Nov. First, the plaintiff Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church has a First Amendment right to allow the homeless to sleep on its property as part of its religious activities. Second, the homeless plaintiffs have a due-process liberty right not to being arrested or threatening with arrest for sleeping on church property when nothing in the law makes it a crime for them to do so with the permission of the Church. As a general matter, to obtain such relief, an applicant must establish " a irreparable harm and b either 1 likelihood of success on the merits or 2 sufficiently serious questions going to the merits to make them a fair ground for litigation and a balance of hardships tipping decidedly toward the party requesting the preliminary relief.

Board of Education , F. However, in the context of a First Amendment challenge seeking to stay government action taken in the public interest, the standard is slightly different, as the Second Circuit recently explained in affirming a issuance of a preliminary injunction involving First Amendment expressive activity, Where, as here, a moving party seeks a preliminary injunction to stay government action taken in the public interest pursuant to a statutory or regulatory scheme, that party must show irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction and a likelihood of success on the merits.

Latino Officers Assoc. City of New York , F.

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City of New York , 97 F. Consequently, the plaintiffs are entitled to a temporary restraining order if they can establish a likelihood of success on the merits of their First Amendment claim. For instance, in Stuart Circle Parish v. Board of Zoning Appeals , six churches sought and obtained a temporary restraining order against a municipal zoning agency that had sought to halt a feeding program the churches operated to help the homeless.

See F. See id. A similar situation presented itself in Western Presbyterian Church Board of Zoning Adjustment, where another Presbyterian Church sought a preliminary injunction against a zoning decision that declared a homeless food program operated by the church to be a prohibited use requiring a zoning variance. It is for the Church, not the government, to decide how the Church exercises its religious beliefs. Given this, the plaintiffs also satisfy the requirement of a showing of irreparable harm.

The defendants contend that their actions are legally justified in light of the requirements of sections and of Title 18 of the New York City Rules and Regulations. As an initial matter, the defendants have failed to meet their threshold burden of identifying anything in the regulations or relevant case law that establishes that the act of allowing persons to sleep outdoors on property adjacent to a building amounts to operation of an adult care facility so as to bring that activity within the rules. More important perhaps, even with respect to adult-care facilities that fall within the purview of the regulations, the regulations provide a clear enforcement scheme, and that scheme simply provides that certain government agencies may initiate civil proceedings against the operator of a facility to enforce the requirements of parts and and ultimately, if necessary, to close the facility.

See 18 N. Nothing in this arrangement makes it a crime for a person to sleep in a noncomplying facility. Such arrests -- or the threat of such -- are entirely without legal authority and thus violate the due-process liberty rights of the homeless plaintiffs. See, e. City of Miami , F.

The Sleeping Church

Second, the case on which the defendants rely, Greentree at Murray Hill Condo v. Good Shepard Episcopal Church , N. The defendants cite no cases that holds that actions such as those at issue here constitute a public nuisance. See Affidavit of Margaret Shafer 20 Dec. Moreover, even in circumstances in which a public nuisance does exist, the City has identified no authority that allows it to arrest persons associated with that nuisance.

Rather, it appears that the appropriate procedure is to bring a civil proceeding to abate the nuisance. First, it has allowed the homeless to sleep on the property for two years, which of course has precluded public use of the property. See Shafer Affidavit Second, it has conspicuously marked the sidewalk with tape demarcating its property line. Finally, for many years the Church had placed planters on this property, see Affidavit of Margaret Shafer 18 Dec. The consistent and long-time actions of the Church foreclose the suggestion that it somehow has forfeited its control over the property in question.

Finally, the defendants suggest that their actions are supported by section b of the New York City Administrative Code. Even if, arguendo, this provision bars the erection of tents and boxes on public property, that has no bearing on this controversy for two reasons. First, as noted, the homeless plaintiffs are sleeping only on the private property of the church, and thus it is only on that property that any boxes or tents are being erected.

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In fact, the case cited by the defendants involved a homeless person arrested under section because he had been found sleeping in a cardboard box on a bench in a New York City park. See Betancourt v. Just as the Church can and for years did have planters on this property or could erect other structures on this property such as a entry ramp for the disabled , the homeless people who it permits to sleep on that property can place tents or boxes on it without running afoul of section b. Second, even if section b did apply to private property, it would not allow the NYPD to disperse all homeless persons from the area, as it has been doing.

Rather, it would allow the Department only to take appropriate action against those persons with tents or boxes in violation of section b. Finally, the public interest favors granting the temporary restraining order. The interests advanced by the defendants are substantially undermined by the fact that they knowingly have allowed this activity to take place for over two years. Conversely, the plaintiffs are providing an important service for people in our city who are in dire circumstances. See , e. In support of their request, the plaintiffs submit this memorandum of law to supplement the memorandum they submitted on December 19th in conjunction with the temporary-restraining-order proceedings.

That sidewalk, which is wholly unobstructed by the activity at issue here, is more than thirteen feet wide. See Affidavit of Thomas Piciocco Dec. Affidavit of Margaret Shafer 5 Dec. This simply marks a continuation of the situation that existed for over two years prior to the events that gave rise to this controversy.

See Affidavit of Margaret Shafer Dec. First, the defendants emphasized at the hearing that no homeless person had been arrested for sleeping at the Church, suggesting that this case really was about nothing more than the right of the City to offer voluntary services to the homeless sleeping on Church property. See Transcript at This is incorrect. While it is true that no homeless person at the Church was arrested, that was only because the homeless left when ordered by the police to disperse or face arrest.

See Affidavit of Margaret Shafer 23, Dec. The Church fully supports efforts by the City to provide truly voluntary services to the homeless and never has objected to City personnel entering onto its property to offer such services. See Affidavit of Margaret Shafer 7 Dec.


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What the Church objects to is the NYPD ordering those who choose not to accept those services to leave Church property at the risk of arrest. The objective of the program is to help get the homeless off the street, and in just the last year the Church has managed to help 77 homeless persons do just that. See Affidavit of Margaret Shafer 17 Dec. Nonetheless, the Church recognizes that some homeless people, because they are service-resistant or for other reasons, simply will end up on the street, regardless of the availability of City services. Since the parties are making simultaneous filings and since the City has not informed the plaintiffs of any new legal theories upon which the City rests its position, the plaintiffs in this memorandum amplify on the issues previously presented to the court.

As the Second Circuit recently explained in affirming such a preliminary injunction, Where, as here, a moving party seeks a preliminary injunction to stay government action taken in the public interest pursuant to a statutory or regulatory scheme, that party must show irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction and a likelihood of success on the merits. See Million Youth March, Inc. Safir , 18 F. Giuliani , 99 F.