NEW YORK (BP) -- New York churches gained a victory in the courts yesterday (Feb. 29) as the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district judge's injunction against the city's enforcement of a ban to keep churches from meeting for worship in public schools.
"We wouldn't want to go back to the schools and the next month have to go somewhere else. We'd rather find a place with stability."
-- NYC pastor
The Second Circuit, though, instructed U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska to act quickly on the case, encouraging her to issue a final decision by mid-June so the matter can be resolved before the next school year.
While churches can continue to meet in New York City schools at least through the end of this school year, some already have moved on to more reliable space.
One Southern Baptist congregation in the city moved all three of its campuses out of public schools, and another congregation is sharing its rented meeting space with other churches in an effort to support the body of Christ in New York.
The Journey Church has three campuses in New York -- an Upper West Side campus in Manhattan, a Village campus in Manhattan and a Queens campus. All three were meeting in public schools before the legal wrangling intensified early this year.
Now the Upper West campus is meeting in the Directors Guild of America New York Theater on 57th Street. The Village congregation has temporarily moved to a United Methodist church for an evening service, and in Queens, Journey has moved to a United Artists movie theater.
"We're paying a little over double the rent we were paying before, so that definitely affects our budget a great deal," Kerrick Thomas, pastor of the Upper West and Village campuses, told Baptist Press.
"We're looking at different meeting location options, and we're looking at the possibility of bringing our two Manhattan campuses together in one central Midtown location and doing all four services in one place," Thomas said.
Journey's leaders hope the city's ban will be overturned but they're taking their time and waiting to see where God wants them, Thomas said.
"It would depend on what kind of stability the decision has with it ..." Read More