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City Fines Couple for Hosting Bible Studies Without a Permit

Officials say the meetings violate residential use policies.

The city of San Juan Capistrano, California, has fined a family for holding regular Bible studies in their home.

Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, who have been hosting Bible studies and other gatherings in their home since 1994, were cited for violating a municipal code which requires a conditional use permit (CUP) for religious, fraternal, or nonprofit organizations that meet in residential areas. The Fromms were fined twice for a total of $300. When they appealed to the city, they were informed that the violations would be upheld and that any future meetings without a CUP would face a fine of $500 each.

The code in question prohibits such groups of three or more people meeting without a CUP, said Chuck Fromm, who is the former president of Maranatha! Music and co-founder and editor of Worship Leader magazine.

"The law says any nonprofit or fraternal organization," he said. "If I'm having five guys over to watch Sunday football every week, that's a regular meeting of three or more people that ...

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