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A national church council has upheld the decision to remove a pastor from the Throggs Neck church where he has preached for three decades.
The removal of Mark Gregori, who served for over 30 years as pastor of Crossway Christian Center at 2730 Bruckner Boulevard, was upheld by the General Council of the Assemblies of God in Springfield, Missouri on Monday, August 9.
Gregori had filed a third appeal in the case, alleging denial of due process. Three different church members accused him of wrongdoing, including sexual allegations.
Gregori’s supporters contend that he is innocent, and while he may have lost his right to serve as a minister to an Assemblies of God congregation, he could still serve in another religious denomination or independent church.
Robert Ayala, Gregori’s spokesman, said that Gregori is considering his options in light of his ouster.
“We expected that the pastor’s appeal would be denied,” Ayala said. “As far as the decision by the Assemblies of God, it was never really a surprise to us. We have been meeting outside of the Crossway Christian Center. He has divinity credentials and this does not stop him from starting another church ministry.”
Ayala said that as of the present time, there are no plans by Gregori to start a new church. The Assemblies of God’s New York District office, which conducted the investigation into charges, did not comment on the matter.
In Gregori’s third and final appeal, he expressed his view that the New York District Executive Presbytery of the Assemblies of God violated procedural requirements in church by-laws by “summarily dismissing evidence” that shows Gregori to be innocent of any wrongdoing. The evidence Gregori is referring tois a new polygraph test the appeal stated exonerated him.
“The investigators chose to ignore the new physical evidence and rely on their subjective perceptions based on new interviews with prior witnesses,” the appeal read. “This is in clear violation of Rev. Gregori’s right to due process under the law.”
The appeal includes a letter from former Assemblies of God New York District Superintendent Saied Adour. Adour stated the Gregori was cleared of charges brought by one of his three accusers years ago.
Ayala said that the church is a very different place for Gregori’s supporters. He said that while Assemblies of God continues to hold services at Crossway Christian Center, it is difficult to worship amid all the controversy. He said that without the core group Gregori brought together when Crossway was founded, it is not the same church. Gregori has released his dismissal letter, signed by James Bradford, general secretary for the Assemblies of God.
“While I am sure you are disappointed with the decision,” the letter read, “I trust that you will find strength in the Lord’s grace and guidance at this time.”
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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