According to a new study by LifeWay Research, two-thirds of the American public favor allowing churches and other community groups to rent public school facilities for their use when school is not in session, such as on weekends. The poll was inspired by an upcoming deadline in New York disallowing churches to meet on public school property; at least 150 churches in the state will be affected.
Half of polled New York residents said churches should be permitted to rent public school facilities. Interestingly, those living in large cities are less supportive of churches and other community groups meeting in schools, as are women, those without college degrees, and not surprisingly, those who never attend worship services.
“Historically schools have been welcoming locations to churches, especially in larger urban centers where schools are in the heart of the communities,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. “A trend of banning church use of public schools could have significant implications.”