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Christian Fellowship Centers of New York Sues Village of Canton for Zoning Discrimination

Christian Fellowship Centers of New York Sues Village of Canton for Zoning Discrimination

CANTON, NY – Monday, February 11 – Christian Fellowship Centers of New York (CFC) has filed a lawsuit against the Village of Canton in response to the village’s unequal treatment of religious assemblies.

Currently, the Village of Canton’s zoning ordinance prevents religious assembly uses from operating anywhere within its C-1 commercial district even though secular assembly uses such as theaters, museums, and hotels, or other social, charitable, and philanthropic uses are permitted. This ordinance is in violation of, among other things, the “Equal Terms” provision of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).

“CFC is asking our federal court to uphold its property and equal treatment rights, and by extension, the property, equal protection, freedom of association, and free speech of every person in Canton—even of those who in good faith oppose it,” said attorney John Mauck of Mauck & Baker, the Chicago-based law firm that is representing the church.

The local congregation of CFC has been searching for a permanent church home for its congregation in Canton after renting from various locations since May of 2016. Recently, CFC located a facility in the C-1 district that fit its needs and purchased the property on January 11, 2019. However, the church’s requests for approval to use the property for worship services have been denied by the village.

After settling into its new location, CFC hopes to serve the people of Canton through its many existing and upcoming ministries that would increase opportunities for social engagement and fulfill the needs of many residents.

“We are thrilled with the opportunity to use this building to worship Jesus and bless the community of Canton. It is a cherished landmark, and we certainly plan to maintain it and use it in a way that serves the community for years to come,” said CFC pastor Jamie Sinclair. “In addition to holding our regular worship services there, we are looking forward to using the building for ministries in which the public is welcome such as parenting classes, support groups for those struggling with addictions, youth activities, financial planning classes, and café nights with open mic format poetry and music.”




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