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Church pastor ousted

A pastor who led a Throggs Neck church for more than 20 years was dismissed recently after allegations of inappropriate physical relationships with several churchgoers surfaced. The relationships were allegedly formed over the past ten years. One churchgoer has called the allegations baseless and suggested that the pastor has been framed.

Pastor Mark Gregori founded Crossway Christian Center, an Assemblies of God church presently located at 2730 Bruckner Boulevard, in 1976. Gregori was dismissed for alleged relationships with four different women, a source said.

The pastor hopes to be reinstated and has remained upbeat, Crossway Christian Center member Carrol Domangue said.

“He’s been framed and he’s going to be back,” Domangue said. “I have known him for over 20 years and I can tell he didn’t do anything. He’s been over to my house [recently] and for him to be cheerful and hopeful, showing courage, [is inspiring].”

According to the church’s website, Gregori founded the church in 1976 when he and his wife Joanne arrived in Throggs Neck, fresh from seminary school in Springfield, Illinois. At the time, Gregori lived in the Throggs Neck Houses. According to the website, he first held services in his 11th floor apartment and later found a separate house of worship.

Crossway Christian Center, a multi-ethnic congregation, began to rent and renovate a second story loft over what was then an egg warehouse at 2730 Bruckner Boulevard in 1980. According to the website, the church bought the 13,000 square foot building in 1984. The building was subsequently expanded and new church programs were added.

A woman who answered the phone at Crossway Christian Center confirmed that Gregori had been dismissed as pastor by the Assemblies of God New York district office.

According to the source, Crossway Christian Center’s advisory board was informed of the allegations in October 2009 and the Assemblies of God New York district office conducted its own investigation soon after. The internal investigation and an Assemblies of God hearing found Gregori guilty, but he has appealed and hopes to garner support from his congregation, the sources said.

An Assemblies of God New York district office spokesman refused to comment on the nature of the allegations against Gregori and wouldn’t confirm that the pastor had been dismissed.

“We are not at liberty to comment,” assistant superintendent Bill Kirk said.

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742-3393 or procchio@cnglocal.com.

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