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Park Slope Presbyterian Church Banned From Holding Sunday Service at John Jay

A court ruling bans churches from renting space in public schools for Sunday service citywide.

School is out for churches, forever.

This past Sunday, Park Slope Presbyterian Church did not hold its worship service in John Jay High School on Seventh Avenue like it has every Sunday for the past eight years. Instead, their service was held across the street at .

The reason? The city has evicted them.

As New York 1 reports, Mayor Michael Bloomberg will start enforcing a federal court decision that bans churches from renting space in public schools for religious worship.

Of the 53 churches affected citywide, nine of them are in Brooklyn. But not every place of worship has been kicked out, for the city’s policy states that no more than 50 churches are allowed to rent space in a public school for regular worship.

From now on, Park Slope Presbyterian Church will hold its services at Greenwood Baptist, which is on Seventh Avenue at the corner of Sixth Street, at 4 p.m.

The church’s pastor, Matt Brown, told NY 1 that he is frustrated about being evicted from John Jay after close to a decade of renting the space.

One worshiper echoed the pastor’s sentiment.

"It's sad I think for all us to be leaving the place where we've been for so many years," the worshiper told NY 1.

But the policy does not affect schools that are renting space in churches. According to the report, the Department of Education currently holds 34 school leases from the Catholic church.

"The thing that's amazing to me is that the Board of Ed is so worried about confusion on one point and not on another," pastor Brown told NY 1, explaining that PS 133 is in a church, which it rents from the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens.

What do you think? Make sure to vote in the poll below. 

D February 14, 2012 at 12:07 PM
They should change their name to....better our world society...... Instead of calling it prayer...... Call it a chant.......then they will be allowed in.....can.someone please post a list of which org. Are allowed to rent public property...
Jim February 14, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Good. Religious institutions are already supported enough by the government. Seperation of church and state. Keep religious institutions out of schools.
Patti February 14, 2012 at 02:43 PM
The service is offered on Sunday when school is not in session. No students or teachers are forced to attend Sunday services nor is it part of the curriculum. I think this is overboard, someone is not thinking clearly.
Jim February 14, 2012 at 04:07 PM
My son's school is constantly being used on the weekend. Sports practice, concerts, other extracuricular activities. Even if it is not being used, the building needs to be opened, maintained, heated or cooled, cleaned and closed. Who pays for that? Who doesn't get to use it while a private religious institution is using it? This does need to be thought through.
Gary Shaffer February 14, 2012 at 04:47 PM
If the weekend use were for mosques, there would be a completely different attitude toward this, and that highlights the problem. The issue isn't "confusing children." It's separation of church and state. There is no problem renting space in former parochial schools. The space at that point is being used for a completely secular purpose. I'm sure the religious institutions using the school space now are filled with good people who are sincere in their religious beliefs, but it's not the proper use of a public, tax-supported space. I don't want public spaces being used to worship Jesus, Allah, Adonai/YHVH, or Buddah. Weekend sports, educational or vocational training is fine. Entertainment is fine. Religious services are not. Would people feel ok if the Catholic Bishops used to public school space to preach against birth control on the weekends? Probably not. But it would certainly be inappropriate to limit the content of any religious service. That's why they should take place in houses of worship.
Mindy February 14, 2012 at 05:21 PM
I do believe in a separation of church and state. However, the church is paying to use a public building when it would, otherwise, be unoccupied. Those attending services are doing so of their own free will and should not be penalized for practicing their faith because they no longer own a physical, tax-exempt, structure. The Bloomberg administration knows how to spin a tail and, certainly, has no issue giving city funds to the Archdiocese of NYC to rent, their completely tax exempt, properties to house some of the NYC public schools. Mr. Mayor.....you cannot have it both ways!!!!
Gary Shaffer February 14, 2012 at 09:03 PM
The building being otherwise unoccupied is a teasing economic rationale, but has nothing to do with the separation of church and state. There's no economically beneficial exception. Again, let's suppose that the majority of schools in NYC were being used every weekend by Muslim fundamentalist groups who paid rent to the City but preached about the evils of other faiths. Or the Bishops funded weekend services in schools where they preached about the evils of family planning. Would that be ok? The fact that many people may not have such misgivings about the religious groups who currently use the schools is irrelevant. As for the City leasing space from Archdiocese, if that renders the use as for- profit, rather than non-profit, then yes, that should trigger taxes. Again, a different issue.
arugula February 14, 2012 at 09:11 PM
pt 1 of 3 - Read the Cosntitution willya?? Seperation of Church and State was MAJOR objective of the founders because they had seen, and unlike so many modern day Americans, they understood fully what happends when religion dominates policy. Look at what has happened in our lawmaking congress! We have religious fanatics and hypocrites corrupting the democratic process. The constitution states this must never happen in our republic. What do you think religious zealotry has done to Islam? Religious zealots with a covert agenda in government should tell you the same is happening here. Our freedoms are being removedfromunder us one by one just as ourtaxes are being diverted to the wealthiest until most of us haven't got enough to live on no matter how hard we work. For all who think their women are so much worse off than our own, may I remind you of the booming trillion dollar sex trade in America... of the kidnapped and tricked teenagers who disappear and are deliberately addicted to drugs... girls AND boys. We have become enslaved to a heartless form of rabid religious hypocrites and crooks. The last thing we need in our schools is any hint of religion. Home and church is where religion belongs. School is for learning just the factual information that will help you make it through life, get jobs and take care of yourself, keep you from being ignorant buffoons who are easily bamboozled- english, math, science, music, health, etc...
arugula February 14, 2012 at 09:11 PM
pt 2 of 3 Did you know that we are the ONLY democratic nation that allows home schooling? Do you know why? Home schooling is not regulated in most states and that means parents don't HAVE to teach kids their basic skills or what the world is really like. Most parents who home school are teaching religion instead of facts. In other nations they want their citizens to be intelligent, well informed and employable. Churches are a racket because they are tax exempt and despite the constitution saying political activity removes that exemption, somehow churches have gone way over the line and have become mega-church money makingPOLITICAL business just like any other business. They want your dollars and they make a lot of money delivering your votes to the men that pay them for it. They do not want equality or democracy... they want everyone to be forced by the government to pratctice THEIR version of faith. This should make any real American sick and angry. I am not talking about ALL religious institutions here.. I am talking about these ULTRA EXTREME Evangelical, Dominionist, hate-preaching ones now dominating politics and the media. You don't hear about the good ones because they are not out hating, gays or minorities orthe disabled....
arugula February 14, 2012 at 09:12 PM
pt 3 of 3 they are just being decent folks who don't trouble themselves with what other people believe as long as they are free to live what they believe within the law. That means you can do and be whatever you wish as long as you do not harm others. Bloom,berg has proven hundreds oftimes that he does not care about us and in facr looks down on us while robbing us, destroying public education and using the police to stop citizens from using their constitutional right to peacefully protest.. to arrest and to physically harm them as well. What do you expect from someone who, against two vortes, ignored term limits and bought hiomself a third term... a man who built two uneccessary stadiums when every non-biased study done, says that stadiums never make m0oney for their cities. They cost their cities money - a LOT of money. Our Mayor is an oligarch and evil destroyer. When tyrannies come to power it is always in conjunction with help and support of a dominant religion that wants to wipe out all other religions. Hitler,a catholic, was funded. propagandized and supported by the catholic church every murdering step of the way. Power draws power and stomps the lesser of us. Religion should be kept far away from government if you expect to have a democracy or to respect our constitution.
Parksloper February 14, 2012 at 09:14 PM
"Pastor Matt Brown of Park Slope Church has been meeting in John Jay High School in Brooklyn for the past eight years. He pays a fee of $3,200 a month to cover maintenance costs and is one of the clergymen being forced to relocate." I'm sure the school can handle the loss of these funds. Not. Maybe Jim and the other screaming liberals can make up the difference.
Parksloper February 14, 2012 at 09:16 PM
"But the policy does not affect schools that are renting space in churches. According to the report, the Department of Education currently holds 34 school leases from the Catholic church." Nothing like a hypocritical liberal.
arugula February 23, 2012 at 10:23 PM
I hope you are saying that if the weekend space was being used for a Mosque you'd get a far more vicious reaction due to the sick scapegoating bias against all Muslims being constantly fed by hate groups and a Military Industrial Congressional Complex that needs us to hate them so they can keep killing Muslims and Arabs and stealing their natural resources for our imperial war profiteers in the middle east. You can't get people to go to war unless you make them HATE an "enemy". Lousy, but true.
arugula February 23, 2012 at 10:40 PM
The Catholic Church, et al, have been so extremely politically active they have no right to any tax exemptions. Why give them even more? They want to change laws and disenfranchise other people with different beliefs... that's pretty political isn't it? I wish the American Church would split away from the Vetican and the Pope...The hierarchy is extremely rich, powerful and "infallible" (according to themselves, NOT God) they have long ago lost contact with the reality, needs and lives of the congregations. American Catholics know their prayers, hymns and rituals... we don't need some fat, rich elitist, pedophile protectors on their high and lofty butts thinking up ways of making life harder for them... I know.. I know... I am REALLY angry at the Church heirarchy.
arugula February 23, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Parksloper... You are comparing apples with pencils here. Public schools do not teach religion or promote religious philosophies of any kind. They just teach plain old mundane facts to get you on in life... math, english, science, history.... that is NOT what religious training does. There is no hypocracy, though you mistook them for such. Religious and secular education are worlds apart and you should know it now that you think on it, right? Secular educaztion gives you tools to work with and religious education tells you the rules you will live, think and be very heavily influenced by. I took my catechism classes too... you know exactly what I am talking about.

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