Posts tagged "Church"

Newton Presbyterian Church, et al. v. Smith, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 09-015-18)

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS SUFFOLK, ss. SUPERIOR COURT. _ ______ ______ ______ _ 1784CV00804-BLS2 NEWTON PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH and THE PRESBYTERY OF BOSTON v. GARRETT SMITH and Others and NEWTON COVENANT CHURCH v. PRESB_Y__T_E_R__I_A_N__ C__H_U__R_C__H_ (USA) MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ALLOWING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION The parties to this lawsuit dispute who is entitled to use and control property belonging to the Newton Presbyterian Church (“NPC”), which is a member of the national Presbyterian denomination known as the Presbyterian Church (USA) (the “PCUSA”). Judge Sanders recently allowed Plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment, ruling that they are entitled to enforce a ruling by the Presbytery of Boston that the remaining members of the NPC are entitled to use and control the disputed property, and that the break-away church members that now call themselves the Newton Covenant Church are not. Plaintiffs have now moved for a preliminary injunction that would begin to enforce Judge Sanders’ dispositive ruling by ordering Defendants to vacate the church’s real property, return all other property, and refrain from using the NPC property in a manner inconsistent with the prior determination of the Presbytery. For the reasons discussed below, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs are entitled to such relief. It will therefore ALLOW the motion and issue a preliminary injunction in the form requested by the Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs will remain free to let Defendants continue to worship in and make other use of the NPC building, at least for now. But that is for the Plaintiffs to decide. Defendants have no right to continue their use and occupation of the NPC property, now that Judge Sanders has determined that the Presbytery’s decision must be respected and enforced. – 2 – 1. Background. A majority of the NPC’s members voted in January 2017 to break away from the PCUSA and affiliate instead with the Evangelical Covenant Church. The Presbytery of Boston is the governing body for all PCUSA member churches in this area. It determined that the loyal Presbyterian members of the NPC are the true church, and that the break-away majority were no longer members of the NPC and had no power to take “any action purporting to affect the ownership, possession, use or status of the church property” or to change NPC’s name. The break-away majority, led by the Defendants, ignored these directions, changed the sign outside the church building to read “Newton Covenant Church,” and has occupied, kept possession, and been controlling use of all church property. The NPC and the Presbytery of Boston then brought this suit, seeking declaration “that the ecclesiastical determination of the Presbytery regarding the true NPC and who among its members is entitled to the use and control over the NPC […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - March 1, 2018 at 1:56 am

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , ,

Newton Presbyterian Church, et al. v. Smith, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 09-048-17)

1 COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS SUFFOLK, ss. SUPERIOR COURT SUCV2017-0804-BLS 2 NEWTON PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH and THE PRESBYTERY OF BOSTON Plaintiffs vs. GARRETT SMITH, et al.1 Defendants and NEWTON COVENANT CHURCH, Third Party Plaintiff, vs. PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (USA), Third Party Defendant MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT This action arises from a dispute over the ownership of property of the Newton Presbyterian Church (“NPC”), a member of the national Presbyterian denomination known as the Presbyterian Church (USA) (the “PCUSA”). In January 2017, a breakaway faction within the NPC led by the individual defendants conducted a vote purporting to effect the departure of NPC from the Presbyterian Church in order to affiliate with a conservative evangelical organization called the Evangelical Covenant Church (“ECC”). Calling themselves the “Newton Covenant 1 Carmen Aldinger, Anders Brownworth, Thomas Devol, Harold Jones, Doris Kellom, Kristen Lucken, Roger Mark, Rosalind Picard, Daniel Romaine, Beatrice Yankey and the Newton Covenant Church. 2 Church” (“NCC”), the defendants assumed control over NPC’s bank accounts and other property, including the church building located at 75 Vernon Street in Newton. The Presbytery of Boston is the governing body for all PCUSA member churches in the greater Boston area, including the NPC. Pursuant to PCUSA’s Constitution (which includes provisions to deal with schisms within congregations), the Presbytery has determined that the loyal Presbyterian members of the NPC are the “true church” and that the NCC members controlled by the breakaway faction are no longer members of the NPC, with no power to control NPC property. This lawsuit seeks enforcement of this determination together with damages. The matter is now before the Court on plaintiffs’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Count I seeking declaratory relief. This Court concludes that the motion must be Allowed, for following reasons. BACKGROUND In support of their motion, plaintiffs primarily rely on documents, the authenticity of which is not in question. Those documents together with other undisputed facts reveal the following. 2 A. The PCUSA Hierarchical Structure The PCUSA is a Protestant Christian denomination consisting of congregations and a hierarchy of four governing councils that make up “one church.” The four governing councils are — in ascending order–the session, the presbytery, the synod, and the General Assembly. A session, elected by a congregation, governs at the congregational level. A presbytery, made up of clergy and elders from congregations in a specific geographical area, governs the churches in 2 Although purporting to dispute most of the facts cited in the Rule 9(A)(b)(5) statement proffered by the plaintiffs, the defendants do not cite to any facts in the summary judgment record nor do they allege any particular facts to show that a genuine dispute indeed exists. […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - December 7, 2017 at 12:03 am

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , ,

Easter Sunday Church Services in the South End

Looking to celebrate Easter? Here’s a list of church services happening in the South End on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013. Cathedral of the Holy Cross  Mass in English at 8 a.m. Mass in Spanish at 9:30 a.m. Extraordinary Form Mass at 11 a.m. Mass in English at 11:30 a.m.  Union United Methodist  Service at 9:30 a.m.  Mt. Calvary Baptist Church  Service at 11 a.m.  South End Neighborhood Church  Service at 11 a.m. and an Easter egg hunt.  People’s Baptist Church of Boston  Services at 8 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.; Easter breakfast from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.  Grant A.M.E. Church  Service at 11 a.m.  St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church  Service at 9 a.m.; service and baptism at 11 a.m.  Columbus Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church  Service at 10 a.m.  Shawmut Community Church of God  Service at 11 a.m.  Church of St. Augustine and St. Martin  Service at 9:30 a.m. Congregation Lion of Judah  Services at 9 a.m.  Ebenezer Baptist Church Services at 10:30 a.m. SOUTH END PATCH: Facebook | Twitter | E-mail Updates South End Patch

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - March 28, 2013 at 10:02 am

Categories: Arrests   Tags: , , , ,