Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Michigan Church Sues Over Permission To Run Counseling Program

Tomorrow a Michigan federal district court will hear arguments in a dispute between a Lennox Township (MI) church and township officials over the church’s residential counseling program. According to today’s Macomb Daily, Grace Community Church (GCC) has taken over 54 acres of land containing a former Catholic church and monastery that housed 25 people. The Township forced GCC to stop operating its Discipleship Training Center in the former monastery building, claiming that GCC was offering substance abuse counseling in addition to the religious counseling that is allowed under its land use permit. GCC’s pastor, Bill Pacey, says that is not so, even though he is a licensed substance abuse counselor. GCC’s lawsuit claims that the Township is violating RLUIPA by preventing it from operating its program.