Ana Abreu and her husband Luiz are ministers to the group, which is emancipated from the Assembly of God faith.
According to attorney Bonnie Parente, the group first began conducting religious services for their congregation in 2003 in Garden City at the Church in the Garden at 68 Osborne Road, but “over time, other organizations utilizing the same facility grew larger and overtook the small congregation,” she said during a special use hearing at the village hall on Aug. 14. “It isn’t that it became too small, it’s that they got pushed out by other religions who were also renting space in the same location; they weren’t able to schedule services. They want their own property for their own use.”
The Mineola location was considered because according to Parente, most of the congregation is from the village. Parente said at previous location there were no complaints of congregants “singing, praying dancing, or disturbing the peace in any way.”
The group currently has about 60 individual members, which according to Parente, has not grown and is not expected to grow.
“The members also don’t attend all services at all times,” she added. “Historically speaking – and this is an accurate number – only nine members have had regular prayer service.”
The group is seeking to lease only a 1,700 sq. ft. portion of the second floor. However, the lease has not yet been signed as the group is waiting on approval from the village board. They are seeking a 10-year lease. Access to the second floor is off of an entrance on Jericho Turnpike.
There would be no excess trash and/or garbage and no celebrations performed at the location other than minister-led prayer. Only coffee and cookies would possibly be served after services.
The prayer services are offered Mondays through Thursdays from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 7:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. A Saturday bible study for 50-60 persons mixed between children and adults would also be held from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a prayer service at 9:30 p.m. Parente said that there would be 20 adults “at most” during that time with a maximum of 19 vehicles. They would also have a divider wall to separate the classroom space.
There are 19 parking spaces in the lot and nine metered spaces in a recessed parking lot adjacent to the building in addition to 10 metered spaces across the street, more than enough for the regular members according to Parente.
The group plans on moving desks and cubicles to make way for pews in the location and would not be taking over the entire building or renting the space out for parties or celebrations. The first floor retail space was previously occupied by a 99-cent retail store that has since moved out and the space is currently vacant.
Questions regarding the parking were raised if the retail space were to be occupied and if any of the 19 spaces next to the building were to then be designated for use by parishioners. It was said that the board would have to give a recommendation about parking if it desires a certain number of parking spaces to be reserved so that stipulation can be put into the lease. The board reserved its decision that night.