A local church and Palmer Township officials have found themselves at odds over the rental policies for the Palmer Township Hall.
SHED Church, a non-demoninational congregation that first established in April of 2021, had been meeting at the Palmer Town Hall since the fall of that year.
In January of 2023, Palmer Township officials notified the church that the Town Hall would no longer be available for rental to the church.
Last Friday, the Palmer Town Board held a closed meeting with their attorney to discuss potential litigation the church had referenced in a letter demanding that their rental abilities be restored. After the closed meeting, the board opened the meeting to the public and took action to suspend all rentals at the Town Hall pending a review of the township’s rental policies.
In a statement to the Patriot, the SHED Church alleges that their rights are being violated as a result of their religious beliefs.
The statement reads in part: “Unexpectedly, the Township Board decided they did not want SHED to use the Hall only because we are religious and handed us a letter to leave immediately on January 18th, 2023. SHED Church contacted an attorney who explained that the U.S. Constitution prohibits the Township Board’s religious discrimination.”
When contacted for comment, Ganz didn’t commit to a timeline for when the new policy would be enacted, but did affirm that all rentals have been suspended for the time being.
In the meantime, representatives of the church remain steadfast in their beliefs.
“SHED Church is deeply disappointed in the Palmer Township Board’s decision to deny use of the Town Hall to everyone, rather than allow SHED to continue to meet at the Hall,” reads part of the statement. “SHED and other members of the community are calling on the Township Board to reconsider this unfortunate decision and reopen the hall to every community group who may desire to use the Hall including churches. We know that this is a spiritual battle and we are trusting God.”
The Patriot is in the process of collecting more information and will continue its coverage of the issue in the coming weeks.