Crossway membership may disolve ties with Assemblies

After the removal of its founding pastor and the attempted seizure of the church and its property, some members of Crossway Christian Center at 2730 Bruckner Boulevard are looking to end their affiliation with the Assemblies of God.

The church’s members will express their opinions and cast a vote on Sunday, May 30 to determine if they wish to continue their affiliation with the Assemblies of God denomination after the removal of pastor Mark Gregori last fall. The vote was court-ordered by Bronx Supreme Court Judge Patricia Williams as part of the ongoing litigation of Glenda Shearn v. Crossway Christian Center.

According to Crossway Christian Center spokesman Robert Ayala, the church successfully fended off an attempt by the New York district office of theAssemblies of God to seize control of the worship hall and property. Through a clause contained in a 30-year old financial agreement from when the building of the church was originally being financed with the help of Assemblies of God.

The agreement stipulated that the New York district office of the Assemblies of God could take over the property if the pastor was removed for misconduct. Gregori was indeed removed for alleged misconduct with three female churchgoers, and other allegations have surfaced. That claim with Assemblies of God was struck down in the first court hearing, because there was no longer any mortgage on the church’s property.

“The pastor has filed a lengthy appeal with Assemblies of God,” Ayala said. “The vote on the fate of the church is separate and distinct with what is going on with Pastor Mark Gregori. The vote to continue affiliation or not has to do with the way the Assemblies of God has been treating the congregation.”

Ayala says that the church members may vote to no longer be a part of the Assemblies of God, and could join together with another independent church instead. “We have nothing against the Assemblies of God,” Ayala said. “If we vote to no longer be affiliated, we will become an independent church. This has nothing really to do with Pastor Mark Greori and clearing his name. We could even bring in another pastor.”

Ayala said the judge ordered that announcements be made at church services Sunday, May 16 and Sunday, May 23 alerting all church members of the upcoming vote this May 30. He said that the judge has ordered that the presbyter from the Assemblies of God make an announcement at the Sunday, May 23 meeting. Assemblies of God complied with the order.

Gregori has been meeting with the congregation off church grounds and is garnering a great deal of support among the membership.

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

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