NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Members in dozens of small New York City churches are looking for new places to hold services, in light of the ban on using public school space for that purpose.

Abounding Grace Ministries’ congregants gathered Sunday with heavy hearts at P.S. 34 on the Lower East Side for their final service at the site, even though they’ve been doing it for years.

“I am emotional, I am disappointed, because this is my family,” Lydia Sotomayor told CBS 2’s Ann Mercogliano.

The Manhattan Bible Church in Inwood is not affected, but their pastor Bill Devlin Is fasting in protest, living on just hot water for 40 days. He’s on day 26.

“Today is E-Day. It’s eviction day,” he said. “We are taking this monstrosity of religious intolerance very, very seriously.”

The New York City Department of Education is defending the court ruling. A spokesperson says the view is that public school buildings, which are funded by taxpayers dollars, should not be used as houses of worship or to subsidize worship.

This policy has been challenged and upheld by the Appeals Court, and the NYCLU agrees.

“The New York City Department of Education has made the right decision,” said Donna Lieberman.

For now, Abounding Grace has secured a temporary residence. After that, they may be out of options.

“We’re maintaining a positive faith, because we believe God has a plan for us,” said Pastor Rick Del Rio.

Next Sunday, members of various congregations say they’ll gather anywhere they can find space , whether it be off-Broadway stages, community centers or even the sidewalk.

Please leave a comment below…

Comments (24)
  1. Jack Raeside says:

    Christians vote for progressives/democrats, esp. in cities like NY. They just blindly pull the lever and go home thinking they did their duty. Yes, but to who? God or those in opposition to Godl?! Then they complain when these same people who actually oppose Christian values remove them from the schools. Obviously, some Inner city Christians are in real need of Biblical education. The problem, sometimes when you try to educate they walk out because they are already enculturated, brainwashed by this society.

  2. cygon says:

    you deserve the ‘leaders’ that you vote for.

    1. DarthEVaderCheney says:

      In reality, when you look at the choice of Republican-Tpods in this country, one really doesn-t have much of a choice now, do they. Sad x 10!

    2. Jack Raeside says:

      Exactly! We vote, even Christians vote for progressives who seek a secular society, which includes Obama, and Bloomberg and many of their friends. Then the same Christians complain when progressives do what they do, and undermine Christianity. Stupid or what?

  3. Barre Flynn says:

    Who is going to make up for all the rent rolls these churches paid to the board of education. Forget the religious impact and the strong signal that our leaders have now sent to the religious community, These churches paid a lot of money to use the facilities. That helped greatly with the BOE budgets. When the WTC got blasted we posted signs God Bless America. How quickly we forget. How sad.

    1. Hamilton says:

      They aren’t going to be the only people looking for new homes…..

  4. mike says:

    Church going people do pay taxse that pays for the schools…So don’t the public own the school buildings? Damn! I keep forgetting…Government own everthing today…Americans don’t own anything any more in America…

    1. Robert I says:

      The public owns the school buildings. They were purchased for the purpose of educating children. Any other use might be inappropriate and may represent a use for which some of the public does not wish their tax dollars to be spent..

      What if a group of doctors wants to run an abortion clinic at the school on Sunday? Would denying that use mean that the public has lost ownership of the school?

      1. mishkamophat says:

        oh for :”Gods Sake”

        1. DarthEVaderCheney says:

          for God’s Sake? Don’t take someone’s name in vain who you don’t even know!

  5. Cortez Nance says:

    How can this be in the land that was formed by people looking for religious freedom. Mayor Bloomberg, the Board of Education have once again failed the people. Faith builds the Universe. How can these Cretins be against that, the mayor and BOE are traitors and savages toward the betterment of our world and society. The creators of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution would be aghast and appalled at where we have arrived. Mayor Bloomberg go jump in a lake.

  6. Ray says:

    Have them contact local movie thearers for dates and times. Most movie and stage theaters do not have events planned everyday all day.

  7. jAY NELLAD says:

    This is absurd. New York city allows all Kinds of IMMORALITY, No to worship THE LORD! LET THE HAND OF GOD COME UPON N. Y. NO REMORSE AT ALL. God Bless You Dear ones…We are also Praying. THIS IS ONE OF THE SIGNS OF THE END TIMES. GOD IS IN CONTROL. WE ARE WITH YOU IN PRAYER.

    1. DarthEVaderCheney says:

      Mehhhhhhhh… shaddap already!!!

  8. Jd says:

    An end to the Dark Ages, where religion commanded secular authority. An end to the presumption of deference because it is your “faith”. An end to the brain washing and suppression of critical thinking that characterizes these practices. Enough!

    1. David LaDow says:

      While I would agree that the Church, or any other religious institution should not command secular authority in a kind of theocratic manner, I fail to see how this relates to local churches paying rent in a building. Certainly the school, by allowing the churches to rent the space, is not therefore endorsing their message. That would indeed be inappropriate. But that is not the case here. If the churches are paying rent and not burdening tax-payers, I do not see how this is infringing on anybody’s civil liberties.

      Incidentally, the implicit claim in your post that religious people are somehow all brainwashed and devoid of the ability for critical thought seems a bit unfounded and born more out of an emotional response than reasoned thinking. I must admit that I myself am religious, particularly a Christian, and I do not consider myself either brainwashed or lacking in critical thought.

      Anyway, that was a rather long-winded response and I beg your forgiveness for my lack of brevity.


  9. DarthEVaderCheney says:

    It would be an even better plan if Devlin upped that to 90-120 days fast. C-mon, we know you can do it!

    1. pastor devlin aka piddy says:

      Darth- Happy to do that:) Come visit us at Manhattan Bible Church and see our work with the poor 3816 9th Ave Manhattan. my cell 646 233 7279. Do you have the courage to visit? pastor devlin aka pdiddy

      1. DarthEVaderCheney says:

        Bless your heart, Father Teresa, best wishes with those -feely-good-feelings! I~ve had enough of the holier than thou Reichstag American christian Taliban of your likes to keep me away from the church of self-idolization for three life times. I live now in South America and am enjoying the 5-ring circus from afar. I wouldñt waste the time to call you from across the street. Make that a 210 day fast… no water!

  10. Karla says:

    We are prayer for the people in NY, we have faith that God is in control. We are here in Chicago. and you are not alone. People really need to understand that there’s a real God. We have serve in public school in Chicago as long as we pay our service.

  11. Ali says:

    This is so ridiculous. What am I missing? Where is the harm? Allowing people to worship in an unoccupied school saves space, space that can be used for more housing. Why are this an issue?!?!?!

    1. you can pray anywhere says:

      Why not just worship in one of the other thousands or so churches throughout the city.I think it is just another money maker for these so called preachers.

      1. AuntTootzToldMe says:

        We had four different churches worshipping in our one edifice for years! This such a non-issue!! More American rightwing chrstian Taliban bitching again!

      2. Ali says:

        It may be simply a matter of location, a local place for the local people. It takes money to maintain a church building. Things like rent and electricity, not to mention community services that many churches provide, need to be considered. If it were as simple as finding space to worship within another church building I would assume that that’s what they would do. Also, it should be taken into account that if you hold services within a neighborhood where its people are just barely making it, then putting an effort into trying to save money seems logical.

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