East Sacramento community center moonlights as Pentecostal church

Sunday worship questioned on city-owned property

The separation of church and state is a fundamental tenet of the United States’ civic code. But things get a little murky when the state (or city, in this case), outsources management of its buildings.

Take, for instance, McKinley Park’s Clunie Community Center, in which a Pentecostal Christian group called the Sanctuary Covenant Church holds weekly Sunday worship. Some nearby residents worry that the city of Sacramento—which owns the Clunie Center—is giving preferential treatment to the religious group.

But a public records request showed that the city has no control over the building’s rentals. They handed the Clunie Center’s reins over to nonprofit Friends of East Sacramento in 2012 due to monetary constraints.

The Sanctuary Covenant Church didn’t respond to SN&R before its publication deadline about whether the church pays the Clunie Center’s usual fee of $150 per hour.

Meanwhile, Cecily Hastings, co-founder of the Friends of East Sacramento says the volunteer group rents the center out to religious organizations of any denomination. Discounted rates are available to any group that rents out the community center on a regular basis, she added.

Correction Due to a miscommunication between the writer and the Friends of East Sacramento volunteer group, some misinformation was included in the above article. It’s since been updated.