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Have you ever had a surprise party thrown in your honour? Maybe you enter the house thinking you’re alone, and suddenly, uncles and aunts, plus assorted friends, pop out from behind the furniture and yell, “Surprise!” Then young cousins by the dozens rush in from every door, squealing with a delight they’ve been barely able to contain. I guess surprise parties are an acquired taste–like practical jokes. Some folks don’t seem to mind being scared witless by a sudden barrage of noise and confusion. Others would just as soon go to the dentist for root canal work.
First Baptist Church in hammond, Indiana is claiming to be more united than before in the aftermath of the scandal involving former pastor, Jack Schaap. Schaap, 54 years old, had been fired after it was inadvertenly discovered he was having an immoral relationship with a 16 year old girl.
“People are very pleased at how fast our deacon board acted in the dismissal of our former pastor. Seems like that has helped them, the fact that they made the right choice and they are very open,” said Eddie Wilson, spokesperson and public relations director, tool the Christian Post in a phone interview on Monday.
“But the church is actually more unified today than it ever has been,” Wilson continued. “There’s a sense of commitment on the member part to see that the church goes forward. We are 125 years old, a big congregation, and they are all very committed to making sure that the church succeeds. You get a real sense of unity, commitment, hope – it’s not all doom and gloom. The past two Sunday services have been exciting, they have been powerful.”
CHICAGO (CN) – A group of Baptists lack standing to sue Chicago over preaching restrictions at a summer festival hosted by a nearby Catholic church, the 7th Circuit ruled.
The three-judge panel ruled that the city has no official policy threatening the group’s First Amendment right to preach at the annual summer event.
The St. Symphorosa Catholic Church hosts a multiday public festival each year, during which it obtains a city permit to close portions of two public streets to traffic.
In 2008 Frank Teesdale, pastor of the Garfield Baptist Church a few blocks away, attended the festival with members of his church as part of a street ministry. The Baptists carried a bullhorn, signs and banners, and handed out gospel tracts to attendees.One of St. Symphorosa’s private security guards, an off-duty Chicago police officer named Ray Kolasinski, told Teesdale that he could preach at the festival, but could not use the bullhorn or distribute unapproved literature.
When Teesdale refused to cooperate, Kolasinski handcuffed him and brought him to the police station. Teesdale was arrested on trespass charges, which were eventually dismissed, and the pastor was released on bond later that evening.
Almost a year later, the church, its pastor and four congregants sued the city, claiming it violated their First Amendment rights and Teesdale’s Fourth Amendment rights.
Three days before the 2009 festival, the Baptist church sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to safeguard their right to preach at the upcoming festival.
The city filed a rushed response, arguing that St. Symphorosa could exclude the Baptists, and that the city had a “significant interest” in siding with the Catholic church.
At the district court’s urging, the two groups came to a temporary agreement allowing the Baptists to attend the festival and preach without a bullhorn or large signs.
Meanwhile, the case proceeded in federal court, and in March 2010 U.S. District Judge William Hart dismissed the First Amendment claims, ruling that the city had no official policy violating the plaintiffs’ rights.