Spreading the gospel faces plenty of challenges….here’s one more: a deer range in Oregon could shut down a church’s Bible study and weddings.
Shepherdsfield Church in Sisters, Ore., hosts Bible studies year round and weddings in the warmer seasons. But because it sits on the Metolius Mule deer range, it might not be able to host the events anymore.
According to KTVZ churches are specifically prohibited from holding events on the deer range.
John Shepherd, who started the church in 2008 with his wife, told the tv station, “A hunting lodge has been permitted, a business office has been permitted, business storage has been permitted, plus all kinds of other things. Since those things are allowed, churches have to be allowed, too.”
The Deschutes County Planning Commission said it has received more than 30 letters from people asking it to reject the church’s request to continue with its events.
According to one complaint, “Allowing churches in the winter range sets a dangerous precedent for our wildlife.”
Shepherd said his venue does make concessions for wildlife. It has a large amount of land where the deer graze in the fall and winter.
The Shepherds’ fight for the right to use the land isn’t new. A law firm which specializes in issues of religious land use said in September 2016 that it won a case on behalf of the Shepherdsfield Church that permitted it the use of land.
Shepherd told KTVZ he is prepared to sue the county if they continue to keep him off the church’s land.