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• A Connecticut court ruled that a convent and chapel constituted a "church" for purposes of zoning law despite the operation of a bookstore and audiovisual center on the premises. The court concluded that the convent and chapel, by themselves, clearly satisfied the definition of a church. The fact that a bookstore and audiovisual center were also operated on the premises did not affect this conclusion, since the books and materials were religious and educational in nature and were sold to support the order's missionary and instructional purposes. The court quoted from a 1943 decision of the United States Supreme Court: "The mere fact that religious literature is sold rather than donated does not transform evangelism into a commercial enterprise." Further, the court concluded that the definition of "church" must be "regarded broadly for zoning purposes in order to avoid serious constitutional ...

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  • May 1, 1989