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Injuries Occurring on Church Premises During Use by Outside Groups

An Indiana court makes an important ruling.

• Can a church be legally responsible for an injury occurring on its premises while being used by an outside group? Yes, concluded an Indiana appeals court in an important ruling. Many churches permit outside organizations to utilize their facilities on a short-term basis. Common examples include scouting organizations, and aerobics and craft classes. In the Indiana case, a Catholic church permitted a local community group to use its facilities for an annual one-day celebration. The event was advertised in the church bulletin, and included a religious ceremony. After the ceremony, guests were ushered into another room for a reception where refreshments were served. While refreshments were being served, volunteers disassembled the tables and chairs in the room where the ceremony occurred. Although the guests were asked to proceed to the reception immediately following the ceremony, a ...

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  • May 1, 1992

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