Photos: NYC Christians Protest Church's Eviction From City-Owned Property

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By Nicola Menzie , Christian Post Reporter
January 6, 2012|5:25 pm

Dimas Salaberrios, pastor of Infinity Church in the Bronx borough of New York City, led a protest Thursday, Jan. 5, outside the offices of the New York City Law Department over his ministry's eviction from the Bronx River Community Center, owned by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).

Pastor Salaberrios claims that NYCHA was following in the footsteps of the NYC Board of Education, which served eviction notices to religious groups who use public school facilities after school hours for their ministries. The education department's move stems from the Supreme Court's refusal in December to review a lawsuit filed on behalf of the Bronx Household of Faith that challenged the Board of Education’s policy.

As a result, the Bronx Household of Faith congregation was told by the Board of Education that it had to quit the school auditorium it has been using as a worship space since 2002 by Feb. 12, 2012. Dozens of NYC churches have been affected by the Board of Ed's decision, which goes back to its victory in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court had decided in June to uphold the board’s policy against religious activity in public school facilities.

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  • Dimas Salaberrios, Infinity Church, New York, protest, eviction
    (Photo: The Christian Post/Nicola Menzie)
    Dimas Salaberrios (C), pastor of Infinity Church in the Bronx borough of New York City, protests with supporters outside of the offices of the New York City Law Department in downtown Manhattan Jan. 5, 2012. Salaberrios and supporters were speaking out against his church's eviction from property owned by the New York City Housing Authority used for worship purposes.
  • Protesters stand behind police barriers outside of the New York City Law Department in downtown Manhattan Jan. 5, 2012, to rally against the eviction of Infinity Church from a New York City Housing Authority property in the Bronx borough of NYC.
    (Photo: The Christian Post/Nicola Menzie)
    Protesters stand behind police barriers outside the offices of the New York City Law Department in downtown Manhattan Jan. 5, 2012, to rally against the eviction of Infinity Church from a New York City Housing Authority property in the Bronx borough of NYC.
  • An unidentified supporter holds a sign in outside the offices of the New York City Law Department in downtown Manhattan Jan. 5, 2012, during a protest against the eviction of Infinity Church from a New York City Housing Authority property in the Bronx bor
    (Photo: The Christian Post/Nicola Menzie)
    An unidentified supporter holds a sign in outside the offices of the New York City Law Department in downtown Manhattan Jan. 5, 2012, during a protest against the eviction of Infinity Church from a New York City Housing Authority property in the Bronx borough of NYC.
  • Irwin Johnson, a member of Infinity Mennonite Church of Harlem, stands with protesters outside the offices of the New York City Law Department over the eviction of a sister church, Infinity Church, from a New York City Housing Authority property in the Br
    (Photo: The Christian Post/Nicola Menzie)
    Irwin Johnson, a member of Infinity Mennonite Church of Harlem, stands with protesters outside the offices of the New York City Law Department over the eviction of a sister church, Infinity Church, from a New York City Housing Authority property in the Bronx borough of NYC. Johnson, 31, told The Christian Post that the church, led by Pastor Dimas Salaberrios, has proven pivotal in reducing crime in the area.
  • Joe and Michelle Stavrou members of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, stand Jan. 5, 2012, with protesters outside the offices of the New York City Law Department to rally against Infinity Church's eviction from a New York City Housing Authority p
    (Photo: The Christian Post/Nicola Menzie)
    Joe and Michelle Stavrou, members of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, stand Jan. 5, 2012, with protesters outside the offices of the New York City Law Department to rally against Infinity Church's eviction from a New York City Housing Authority property in the Bronx borough of New York City. Infinity Church is affiliated with Redeemer Presbyterian Church.
  • Dimas Salaberrios, pastor of Infinity Church in the Bronx borough of New York City, prays with supporters at the entrance of the offices of the New York City Law Department in downtown Manhattan on Jan. 5, 2012. Protesters voiced their opposition of I
    (Photo: The Christian Post/Nicola Menzie)
    Dimas Salaberrios, pastor of Infinity Church in the Bronx borough of New York City, prays with supporters at the entrance of the offices of the New York City Law Department in downtown Manhattan on Jan. 5, 2012. Protesters voiced their opposition to Infinity Church's eviction from a New York City Housing Authority property used as a worship space.
  • Dimas Salaberrios, pastor of Infinity Church in the Bronx borough of New York City, prays with supporters at the entrance of the offices of the New York City Law Department in downtown Manhattan on Jan. 5, 2012. Protesters voiced their opposition of I
    (Photo: The Christian Post/Nicola Menzie)
    Dimas Salaberrios, pastor of Infinity Church in the Bronx borough of New York City, prays with supporters at the entrance of the offices of the New York City Law Department in downtown Manhattan on Jan. 5, 2012. Protesters voiced their opposition to Infinity Church's eviction from a New York City Housing Authority property used as a worship space.
  • NYPD officers arrested protesters blocking the entrance to the offices of the New York City Law Department Jan. 5, 2012, during a rally against Pastor Dimas Salaberrios' church, Infinity Church, being evicted from its worship space rented from the New Yor
    (Photo: The Christian Post/Nicola Menzie)
    NYPD officers arrest protesters blocking the entrance to the offices of the New York City Law Department Jan. 5, 2012, during a rally against Pastor Dimas Salaberrios' church, Infinity Church, being evicted from its worship space rented from the New York City Housing Authority.
  • Community Bronx Church Protests
    (Photo: The Christian Post/Nicola Menzie)
    Dimas Salaberrios (L), pastor of Infinity Church in the Bronx borough of New York City, is led away by a police officer Jan. 5, 2012, after being arrested during a protest outside the offices of the New York City Law Department in downtown Manhattan. Salaberrios and supporters rallied against Infinity Church's eviction from rental space in the Bronx owned by the New York City Housing Authority.
  • A protester's photo is taken before he is loaded onto an NYPD truck during a rally outside the offices of the New York City Law Department in downtown Manhattan on Jan. 5, 2012.
    (Photo: The Christian Post/Nicola Menzie)
    A protester's photo is taken before he is loaded onto an NYPD truck during a rally outside the offices of the New York City Law Department in downtown Manhattan on Jan. 5, 2012. Church-goers voiced their opposition to the New York City Housing Authority evicting Pastor Dimas Salaberrios' Infinity Church from its worship space in the Bronx.

After Thursday's widely-publicized rally at 100 Church Street in downtown Manhattan, NYSHA has reportedly extended its lease to Pastor Salaberrios' church after previously notifying him that his lease would expire next month. Despite this victory for Infinity Church, and the handful of other congregations who rent from the housing authority, Christians in New York City have vowed to continue the fight to ensure that religious groups have equal access to public spaces.

Read New York City Church Leaders Arrested Fighting for Right to Worship for a full report on Thursday's rally.

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