Repent and Turn Ministries

Learn how to share your faith...Simply...Effectively...Biblically                                                  

Eureka Springs AR 053009

Street Witnessing

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

May 30, 2009


I went to Eureka Springs this morning to meet up with the Jericho Riders, to support Kevin Thompson, who is a Jericho Rider.  Kevin lives near Eureka Springs, and the Basin Park is his "fishing hole".  He goes there to open air preach, witness one-2-one and pass out gospel tracts. 

The previous weekend, Kevin went to the park to do his open air preaching.  However, he was stopped by the City Special Events Director, and told he couldn't preach or be disruptive in any way in the park.  The police came to enforce this. 

Kevin followed the orders and open air preached on the sidewalk directly across from the park for approx. an hour. 

Kevin wrote a letter explaining the incident, and sent it to the Christian Law Association, the Chief of Police, and others.  Below is the letter he wrote.

To whom it may concern;

On Saturday May 23, 2009, I, Kevin B Thompson, entered Basin Springs Park in the town of Eureka Springs, AR at approximately 10:15 AM. Immediately upon entering the park, I was approached by a City Auditorium employee named Eric who told me that I had to leave the park.I had not done anything or said anything to incite this demand from Eric; in fact, I had not even spoken to any persons within the park area. When I asked why I should leave, Eric stated that he had a permit for the entire park and that I could not be there. The reason for his demanding this was not stated, but the implications were because I am a Christian that speaks to others in the park regarding my Christian faith. I told Eric that I had a legal right to be in the park. Eric then contacted the police and I was approached by two officers and told that I could not preach in the park because Eric now has total control of who/what can be done in the park while he has a permit. When I questioned what ordinances I would be violating, Officer Thomas suggested I visit with Chief Earl Hyatt on Tuesday for that information. I have instead chosen to send this e-mail. They stated that I could be in the park, but not preach or be disruptive in anyway. Eric/city employee had/has full discretion over the park.

I questioned the two officers regarding Eric's authority to tell me I could not be in the park; they stated that as long he determined I was being disruptive to the current activities he could tell me to leave. At the time of this incident, I honored the request of the officer's and left the park without further issues or discussion.

Here are my concerns and statements:

First, when Eric approached me and told me to leave the park, I had not done anything at all, only walked into the park. His open hostility towards my Christian faith is clearly a violation of my First Amendment rights. (He could have politely approached me and stated his case.) Forsyth County v The Nationalist Movement, 112 S Ct. 2395 (1992) Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296 (1940)

Second, I feel that not allowing a person the freedom to speak based on a city employee's attitude towards that person's message is discriminatory and Eric's action were rude and improper. Again, I question if this is not a violation of my First Amendment rights.

Freedman v. Maryland, 380 U.S. 51 (1965) Third, I will continue to visit the park and would like to inform all those concerned that I will now be recording all conversations with any government official, including Eric.

Forth, I would like to request copies of the ordinances/codes that state I cannot be in the park or preach in the park.

Fifth, I will be forwarding a copy of this letter to the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) and the Christian Law Association (CLA).

Please note that this is not the first time that Eric's open hostility has been directed towards me. In fact, it is the third time. I am now wishing to file an official complaint against this city employee and would like to know that he has been spoken to.

At this time, I have no issues with the way the police officers handled this situation and so my concerns are not with them.

While I respect the city's legal right to determine ordinances, I cannot and will not allow a city official to discriminate against my freedom to be in a public place based solely on his hatred towards my Christian faith. Thank you for your time, and feel free to contact me.

I will be happy to pick up copies of the ordinances/code and park/permit rules/regulations at any location you desire. While I realize that, your offices are busy, if you can have those for me this week I would deeply appreciate this. Alternatively, you can mail them to the below address.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and for considering my requests, I look forward to each of your replies.

This letter has been sent to"
American Center for Law & Justice

Christian Law Association
Mayor of Eureka Springs
Police Chief of Eureka Springs
Parks and Recreation of Eureka Springs
Arkansas State Representative Bryan King


Kevin B Thompson

Before we went to the park this morning, God had worked it out so that the city officials said it was okay for us to be in the park to open air preach.  They just requested we did not open air preach while the music was playing. 

I arrived around 9:15am and began passing out my new custom made gospel tracts (Million Dollar Bill) in the Basin Park. I passed them out to the vendors as well.  One of the vendors put it up on his table and wrote on it, Father's Day - June 21st. 

Shortly, the other Jericho Riders and some of their wives arrived.  There were 9 of us altogether. 

Music was playing in Basin Park, so Kevin decided not to open air preach in the park, but across the street from the park, on the sidewalk. 

After a while, I open air preached as well on the street across from the park.  There were quite a few people walking around, checking out the vendors set up in the park and listening to the Blue's music that was playing. 

When the bands began to switch over, then Kevin decided to open air preach in the park.  He open air preached until the other band was ready to play. 

Here is a bird's eye view of Basin Park

We pray for those who received a gospel tract and for those who heard the gospel preached today.  We thank God for allowing us to go back into the park and preach after attempts were made to keep Christ out of the park. 

God bless,

Brad St. Clair

NOTE:  As of June 20, 2009, I am no longer a member of the Jericho Riders.  God has me going in somewhat of a different direction in ministry than they are going.  We still plan to attend street witnessing events together at times.