Hume New England Legal Update
June 7, 2023
Hume is thrilled that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has upheld our right to provide the housing accommodations we have chosen for our staff and volunteers. With this ruling and the subsequent housing, we are better positioned to provide life-changing programs and experiences for campers and families in the years to come.
MA Supreme Court Considers Hume’s Request for an RV Park
February 13, 2023
Hume in New England has been engaged in a zoning dispute with the municipality where we are located, the Town of Monterey, MA. At issue is whether or not Hume can build an RV park that can be used for our religious purposes, as with any other fixed building we have on our private property. The leadership of Monterey opposed the request to build an RV park citing it was unnecessary for our religious purposes. Although Hume contends that an RV park is part of our religious purpose, the Town of Monterey disagrees with our position.
Since an RV park would assist Hume in furthering our mission of people experiencing Jesus in the camp environment, we stood firm, and the situation went to the courts. In 2022, the Boston Land Court issued a ruling neither side found favorable. Hume and The Town of Monterey appealed to the Massachusetts Court of Appeals. While awaiting a date for arguing our case before the MA Court of Appeals, the MA Supreme Judicial Court took up the case. The case has now gone to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
On February 6, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court heard oral arguments from both sides. Many Hume New England staff and a few pastors drove to Boston to support Hume, which was great to see, while many more watched online. There was seemingly no question from the Supreme Court about our being a religious organization with a religious purpose that should be given protection under previous amendments to the law. The primary purpose of the RV park was discussed at length, with several Justices indicating that if Hume’s mission and purpose is religious, it is impossible to separate housing accommodations for volunteers or staff working toward that mission as not having a religious purpose.
While we aren’t certain of the outcome at this point, based on the questions and comments we received, we are continuing to pray for a favorable response. We anticipate it will be several months before we receive a written ruling from the Massachusetts Supreme Court, but we believe this was a significant and positive step forward in the legal proceedings.
We ask that you continue to pray for Hume, and our legal team throughout this process.