Church can stay in Mesa community center

Anyone wandering into the Mesa Community Center on a Sunday may want to bring a Bible.

The community center, a county-owned building, has been the home of the Mesa View Bible Church for the past six months. Sunday services and church functions are being held in the building throughout the week. The church says it needs the space because its other two buildings are too small.

Although the church is paying rent and electricity, some Mesa residents are disturbed the government is leasing facilities to a church.

“I think it is wrong,” said Mesa resident James French, an attorney.

French made his case Monday before the Mesa County Commission, which reviewed the agreement between the community center and the church. Although the board found that the agreement had not been correctly entered into between the church and the community center’s board of directors, it ruled the church could continue to use the premises.

A new agreement will be drawn up by county legal staff. It could allow the church to continue operating out of the community center for two years.

“I would say two years is max,” said Helen Stuebben, who managed the center until three years ago. “If you really want my opinion, I don’t think they should be (allowed to lease the building).”

Jan Potterveld, chairman of the community board, said no one besides the church has asked to rent the facility.

The church’s pastor, Matt Guedes, said he is aware of no laws forbidding a church from leasing a publicly owned facility.

“We are paying for the use of this facility,” Guedes said.

“The problem is our buildings are not selling right now,” he said. The economy also has affected those with land, making them unwilling to sell property at such low prices, he said.

Stuebben said that despite her opposition, she realizes some allowances need to be made.

“We are a small community, and we have to try and accommodate everybody,” she said.


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