(Photo: The Christian Post/Nicola Menzie)
Dimas Salaberrios, pastor of Infinity Church in the Bronx borough of New York City, led a protest Thursday, Jan. 5, outside the offices of the New York City Law Department over his ministry's eviction from the Bronx River Community Center, owned by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).
Pastor Salaberrios claims that NYCHA was following in the footsteps of the NYC Board of Education, which served eviction notices to religious groups who use public school facilities after school hours for their ministries. The education department's move stems from the Supreme Court's refusal in December to review a lawsuit filed on behalf of the Bronx Household of Faith that challenged the Board of Education’s policy.
As a result, the Bronx Household of Faith congregation was told by the Board of Education that it had to quit the school auditorium it has been using as a worship space since 2002 by Feb. 12, 2012. Dozens of NYC churches have been affected by the Board of Ed's decision, which goes back to its victory in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court had decided in June to uphold the board’s policy against religious activity in public school facilities.
After Thursday's widely-publicized rally at 100 Church Street in downtown Manhattan, NYSHA has reportedly extended its lease to Pastor Salaberrios' church after previously notifying him that his lease would expire next month. Despite this victory for Infinity Church, and the handful of other congregations who rent from the housing authority, Christians in New York City have vowed to continue the fight to ensure that religious groups have equal access to public spaces.
Read New York City Church Leaders Arrested Fighting for Right to Worship for a full report on Thursday's rally.