Gateway Middle School set to host church services
The first church service on Gateway School District property is scheduled for next month, despite some worries that it could set a precedent.
Monroeville Council last week approved a request from Harvest Bible Chapel to hold Sunday services in the Gateway Middle School auditorium on Old William Penn Highway.
The church has about 75 members, the Rev. Jeremiah Canfield said. Council approved a conditional-use permit based on what municipal officials deemed an appropriate amount of space in the parking lot to support church traffic.
The church will pay about $40,000 per year to the school district to rent the space, assuming the rental agreement with the church is extended from the current three-month trial period to a full year.
School directors will determine after three months the impact on district activities. School director Janice Rawson in June voted against church services on public property, which she said could set a precedent.
“I just didn't think you should mix any type of religion or politics with Gateway schools,” Rawson said last week.
The board voted 5-4 at the June 26 school board meeting. School directors Scott Williams, Dave Magill and Bill Bailey also voted against the measure.
Gateway Solicitor Bruce Dice said in June that if the board approved Harvest Bible, officials would be legally bound to allow other religious groups in, as well.
But if another religious group requested to rent a facility and the services would interfere with a school activity, the board could deny the group based on the district's rental policy, board President Steve O'Donnell said .
Harvest Bible services would have conflicted with Gateway Midget Football, so games will be relocated to another school facility, municipal officials said.
Harvest Bible is a nondenominational Christian church that has grown to 90 congregations nationwide, Canfield said. The church was founded by Ontario, Canada, native James MacDonald in 1988.
Canfield said that after he was trained as a Harvest Bible worship leader in Chicago last fall, he moved with his wife and five children from Michigan to cultivate a new congregation east of Pittsburgh.
“It's been a great journey,” Canfield said. “We're just excited about what God's doing.”
Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Moss Side Middle School gym class waltzes into tips on able manners
- Monroeville payment to OPEB fund could be withheld
- Hindu temple files lawsuit against Monroeville for right to expand