Help a small church keep their property


Memorial Community Church (MCC), a small community church, is raising funds to defend itself against inappropriate actions against its property.


Although MCC has been at its present location for more than 100 years, over the years MCC had significantly decreased in active membership (most were senior citizens). An introduction to a small, newer, younger, church resulted in the board and active members of MCC inviting this church, Hudson Valley Family Church, to share our facility. MCC’s desire was to enable the gospel to continue to be preached in our community. This resulted in the two churches worshipping together and jointly ministering for over five years. Some new, mostly younger members also joined MCC which enabled us to continue to offer a nursery school to the community around us, something we have done for more than 40 years.

Funded by a denominational organization, a small group of individuals started taking legal action against the church, concurrently with the invitation to HVFC. Although the majority of these people were listed on the church membership rolls, they had not attended or contributed to the church for ten or more years.  As a small church, MCC could not afford to defend itself against this group, and consequently this group was able to replace the standing board with a hostile board despite not being involved for the last decade. This hostile board was removed by the active members of the church.

About a year after the hostile board was removed, these individuals deeded the church property to the denominational organization that initially funded their efforts. Approximately a year after that deed was signed, this organization filed it with the county clerk.  MCC tried to find an independent party to mediate this dispute, but the other group was unwilling to talk.

In New York State, once you discover that someone has signed over your property, you have limited time to respond legally, or the action becomes permanent. This forced MCC into filing a suit. Fortunately, MCC was able to find an attorney to handle the work pro bono. Due to circumstances not related to the suit, that attorney was ordered to be suspended from legal practice requiring the church to find a new counsel.  We now need to raise $40,000 in order to continue the court action that will enable us to regain control of our property (assuming a favorable decision). A special offering raised $5000 in pledges and gifts.  MCC now need to raise an additional $35,000.

For more information see Memorial Community Church of West Harrison (Baptist) against Jill Craven, et. al., Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Westchester, Index Number 54194/2016.