Three worshipers at the Crossway Christian Center who have been vocal in their loyalty to the former pastor, Mark Gregori, are getting the boot.
Each has received a letter ordering them not to return to the premises from the General Council of the Assemblies of God.
The missives were sent via Federal Express to churchmembers Robert Ayala, Maria Gomez and Glenda Shearn, and were received on Friday, August 27.
Gomez has been a member of the Assemblies of God congregation for the past 17 years. Shearn has been worshiping even longer, attending services as a member for 31 years.
Ayala acted as a spokesperson for Pastor Gregori. The letters stated that if the churchgoers returned to the premises, legal action would be taken against them, and Gomez said that her letter alleged that she had been disruptive during services.
Ayala took offense to this allegation made about a fellow Gregori supporter.
“I have never under any circumstance raised my voice to disrupt a church service, and at no point was I disrespectful,” Ayala said. “If I cannot even express my opinion about the congregation’s operations without being thrown out of the church, there is a serious problem.”
Ayala’s “trespass notice,” signed by Victor Rubianes, secretary of the Crossway Christian Center board of trustees, states that he cannot enter any part of the land or buildings occupied by the church.
Gregori, the founder of Crossway Christian Church at 2730 Bruckner Boulevard, was relieved of his duties after three female congregants made formal complaints against him, alleging improper behavior.
Gregori’s final appeal of the charges were denied by the General Council last week.
Ayala said that he believes that his support of Pastor Gregori is the reason that he is receiving notice from the board of trustees. He said that he attended church services on Sunday, August 29, staying for a few minutes and saying hello to some of his friends, and plans to return to the church unless his lawyer advises him not to.
“I feel that this is an attack directed at me,” Ayala said. “For me, it is a fundamental issue of human rights.”
Maria Gomez said that the notice that she received actually specifically claimed that she had disregarded the decisions of the leaders of the church.
“I think that they have taken leave of their senses,” Gomez said. “When I opened up the letter, I almost threw up. Anyone can walk into any church and be received with love. I am a member who has been tithing since 1994, and even though I have no disagreements with the doctrine of the church and only with what happened with Pastor Mark Gregori, I can never come back. The church is like a family. If you have a dispute with a family member, you usually don’t throw them out of the house.”
Gomez said that most of the congregation still loyal to Gregori will continue meeting outside of the church property.