NEW YORK, NY (July 10, 2012) – A federal district court judge recently issued a permanent injunction to prevent the New York City Board of Education from evicting more than 60 church from city public schools.
Eviction notices were distributed last December after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a federal appeals court’s 2-1 ruling that sided with the city in a 16-year legal contest against New York’s policy. The court agreed that the meetings violated the “Establishment Clause” and wrote, “A worship service is an act of organized religion that consecrates the place in which it is performed, making it a church.”
Evangelical Covenant Church pastors were among the first to challenge the evictions by organizing protests and pursuing other legal avenues. Courts have issued temporary stays since earlier this year. Click here to read the text of the ruling.
In response to the judge’s order, Michael Carrion, pastor of Promised Land Covenant Church, says he has learned more about Christian community as people have fought the city’s actions.
“I truly believe that God still does amazing things through his church,” Carrion said. “In an age where all the focus is on ministers falling from grace, there are also clergymen and women of God standing up for mission and justice and compassion and the poor. I have been inspired by how God has used the churches who have worked together as missionary friends to speak to the powerful on behalf of the weak.”
Although several Covenant churches were meeting in schools, they have since found other locations. The ongoing conflict between religious organizations and the Department of Education has kept many churches in limbo over the right to keep using public school buildings for worship services.