Dedham Church Cancels Services At Request of Landlord, Hopes To Try Again Next Weekend

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A Dedham church that planned to hold two services this past weekend dropped those plans after the owner of the building asked that they not occur, the pastor said.

Pastor Nick White of Victory Baptist Church in Dedham announced last week that the church would hold services at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Sunday, May 10 — and keep the congregation at each service to 10 or less, to stay within the governor’s March 23 executive order limiting most gatherings.

The announcement drew a cease-and-desist letter from the Dedham Board of Health, which White said last week he planned to ignore, since he believed he was following the rules.

But when the landlord asked the church to refrain, White decided to cancel.

“There was nothing that I wanted more than to see our church safely congregating again,” White said Monday, May 11 in an email message to New Boston Post. “I was very disappointed that we could not meet this Sunday, but because we are a church that rents our facility part time, we cannot use the building whenever and however we wish. Due to that fact, our landlord respectfully asked that we don’t hold services this Sunday. We have a good relationship with them, and we decided to respect their wishes.”

Victory Baptist Church is a relatively new congregation, having been founded about a year and a half ago. It usually uses a building at 619 High Street in Dedham that was previously a Christian Scientist church at 619 High Street in Dedham. The owner is LJS Properties, a limited liability company, according to town records.

Pastor White said he hopes the church can find a different way to hold at least one service on Sunday, May 17.

“Our goal is to have church this coming Sunday one way or another,” he said. “Whether it’s using another church’s facilities or meeting at a park. We’re weighing our options right now. In the meantime, we are working with our attorneys in fighting the cease and desist.”

Pastor White is one of more than 400 pastors across the Commonwealth who has signed onto an open letter to Governor Charlie Baker calling for the governor to allow churches to re-open.

The governor’s Reopening Advisory Board is planning to issue a report Monday, May 18 describing what Phase One of the re-opening might look like.

The governor of neighboring Rhode Island did not include churches in that state’s Phase One of reopening, which began on Saturday, May 9.