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Counseling Center's Request for Building Permit Denied

The services offered would not have been for "religious purposes" as required by zoning law.

• A Massachusetts appeals court upheld a city's denial of a pastoral counseling center's application for a building permit to convert space in a church building into a counseling center. A Congregational church opened a pastoral counseling center in 1976. To extend its reach beyond the immediate congregation to the broader community, the center relocated to the Andover-Newton Theological School and became an ecumenical practice. To emphasize the continuity between pastoral counseling and church activity, the center later decided to relocate in a local church. It made arrangements with a Baptist church to rent a portion of its facilities for a ten-year term. The counseling center planned to use 6 pastoral counselors who would see about 120 clients per week. Counseling sessions would last about fifty minutes, for which a fee of $35 to $50 would be charged. The counselors were prepared ...

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  • January 1, 1991