Larry McCord and Associates LLC Announces Gospel Concert Fundraiser for St. Matthias Church on May 3, 2014
Proceeds to Benefit Church’s Sunday School and Legal Defense Fund

Larry McCord says the Episcopalian Diocese is attempting to evict the longtime parishioners from a historic church so it can sell the land and pocket all the sales proceeds without any of the money going towards the church.

The event will be emceed by Elder Ken Anthony and Sister Porsche Dunn of St. Matthias Church. There will also be live musical performances by Jamal Grey and God’s Anointed, United For Christ, Carolyn Armstrong, Fred "Fingers" Simmons and Heaven Sent of Long Island.

Tickets are $40 in advance, $50 at the door. Children’s tickets are $25 each, but are only available at the door. The money from the event will go towards St. Matthias Sunday School — of which Mr. McCord is the school’s superintendent — and the church’s legal defense fund in its ongoing battle with the Episcopalian Diocese of Long Island.

Over 100 years ago, George Williams and his wife gave a tract of land to the congregants of St. Matthias Church, which is located at 2856 Jerusalem Avenue, Wantagh, New York. The congregants, also known as the "People of the Brush," were comprised of Native Americans and African-Americans. A trust was set up for the parishioners since outright landownership by African-Americans and Native Americans was forbidden at that time.

The congregation of St. Matthias has been loyal, steady, and faithful for more than a century and is constantly growing. One of the oldest members and leaders, Mother Shirley Hardy, has attended St. Matthias for almost 70 years. For the past 15 years, the congregation has raised funds to pay for repairs to the church — all without receiving any money from its diocese.

In late 2012, the diocese filed an action in the Supreme Court of Nassau County to eject the parishioners and its pastor, Pastor Lawton Bryant, from the land given to them for a place of worship in 1904. Mr. McCord filed a counterclaim against the diocese to have the deed placed in the name of St. Matthias Ministries, Inc., citing adverse possession — the congregation openly and hostilely occupied the land for at least 10 years — and the assertion that the deed lists the Diocese as a Trustee of the land, not the owner.

"This church has been here on Long Island for 109 years,” Mr. McCord said. “Right now, its congregants and its pastor are under attack by the diocese, which wants to kick them off the land and sell the property so they can make some money. This church we belong to is fighting for its very existence."

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