About 60 churches who worship in public school buildings in New York City will have to find alternative venues for their services by February 12, 2012. This development is as a result of a court ruling upholding the decision of the New York City Department of Education to ban religious activities on school premises in that city. In reality, the churches only meet in the buildings on Sundays, when school was not in session; and many of them have excellent mutually beneficial relationships with the school. The case had been on since 1994 before the ruling by the Second Circuit. Hopes that the Supreme Court would reverse this decision were dashed when the Court declined in early December to even hear the case.
Happily, church leaders are not miffed by the situation. In general, they are saying,
"Well it is an inconvenience, but 'Our identity is not in a building, our identity is who we are as a body.”
Rather than cause a set-back, the situation is compelling them to look more prayerfully at their ministries. 'How can we best be the body of Christ in this city
'? they are asking themselves. Sounds like Acts of Apostles.
Particularly for the large churches, finding a large-enough facility within the same neighbourhood is a huge task. Many are therefore thinking decentralization. “Maybe we need two locations instead of one because of where our people come from” some are beginning to reflect.
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