Church battles to keep Paramus location

December 26, 2011 2:16:22 PM PST
A New Jersey congregation could soon be forced to find a new place to hold services.

The church is in a battle to keep their current building.

If they lose, they will have to move from their current location in Paramus.

"We have a depiction of the Good Samaritan, Jesus with out-stretched arms," said Pastor Joe Smaha, of Community Church.

The days are numbered for Pastor Joe Smaha and his wife Pam to enjoy Community Church of Paramus' cozy quarters.

"This is a hugging church. You don't come or leave without getting a hug," Pastor Smaha said.

"Well, you know, it is our life," said Pamela Smaha, a church member.

The church has long paid off its mortgage.

Expensive restorations were recently made to the 82-year-old building, but it's been struggling for years to grow a congregation, barely six members at its lowest.

But now, things have really grown.

"At Christmas Eve services we had about 35 people," Pastor Smaha said.

But that growth apparently isn't enough for the "Christian Missionary Alliance", which the small, once independent church joined in the 90's, to add to its credibility.

Pastor Smaha says a little known clause in the agreement, gave the CMA power that is bringing the church to its knees.

"He said, 'Your congregation is too small, we can shut you down.' I said, 'How is that possible?' He said, 'We can take the church and the property,'" Pastor Smaha said.

They're out January 1st, though they are appealing the decision.

The pastor and his congregation have been in this fight for three years now.

So far, judges have not decided in their favor, but they're not giving up, they are leaning on faith."

"We feel like God called us to help the community," Pastor Smaha said.

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