Church Making Adjustments After Building Dispute

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City notices and locked doors can keep people out of Friendship Baptist Church, but they won't stop Sunday services.

"Fellowship no matter what the problem might be," said James Davis, vice chair of the Trustee Board for the 10:00 am service group.

Members are divided into two groups, holding separate services out of the church. A feud last weekend ended in fire code violations when one group locked the other out. Now the city won't let them back in till it's fixed.

"This is a time when people ought to turn into each other and not against each other," said Pastor David Ford, who leads the 10:00 am service. "This is a time when we should turn to our faith not away from it."

Instead of his normal pulpit, Pastor Ford lead his congregation out of a conference room at Lansing Community College. The accommodations are not ideal but he says that's not what church is about.

"Even if they take buildings from us, buildings will go and buildings come but they can never take the true worship that you have in your heart," Pastor Ford added.

The other group held their services in the church garage since that building wasn't shut down by the city.

"We're here to worship and we're very comfortable in our vesper service this afternoon," said Rev. Clyde Carnegie, pastor for the second group.

As for services next week, both sides say they won't let problems with a building stop them.

"If we are locked out next week, if the city has still not done something about it we will still worship some place," Davis said.

"Our prayers are that we'll worship next Sunday," Rev. Carnegie shared.

The church will remain closed until city officials are allowed to inspect the building to make sure it meets all code requirements.

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