Elderly members of Woodlawn Christian Church say they're the rightful owners

Dispute could be settled in court Jan. 14

Author: Cory Smith, Reporter, csmith@ksat.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:50:19 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 11 2013 10:58:28 PM CST
SAN ANTONIO -

The two groups claiming ownership of the Woodlawn Christian Church are irrelevant according to an official of the organization that oversees the church.

On Friday Reverend Dani Cartwright, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) regional minister and president, said the two opposing groups were working together at one point, and illegally removed more than a dozen elderly members from the congregation. The elderly members have worshiped at the church for nearly 75 years and want to close the ministry.

"They want to let the building go to whatever ministry can happen in that neighborhood," Cartwright said."There's just been this huge blockade a kind of a hostile takeover by these two groups that are now...fighting among themselves."

On Wednesday former church board members and a group led by Steve Huerta of LULAC nearly came to blows outside the church, 1744 West Gramercy Place, while they argued over who owned the building.

Cartwright said the vote that removed the elderly members from the congregation was illegal under the church's bylaws.

"I was a part of that meeting and in that meeting discovered that they had simply brought in people from surrounding churches to be present and to vote at that meeting, which in effect made that meeting illegal."

Last year Huerta and the former board members filed a lawsuit to keep the church open. The case is still pending.

On January 14 Huerta and former board members will go before a Justice of the Peace for an eviction hearing, but Cartwright said whatever is decided will have no bearing on the church's future.

"Hopefully the judge will see that neither one of these entities rightly owns the property," she said. "Eviction of both of them would be appropriate."

For a list of recent stories Cory Smith has done, click here.