The First Assembly of God Church in Alexandria will delay opening its controversial proposed weekday school in a building adjacent to the church until after the City Council reviews the proposal Sept. 18, the church's pastor, the Rev. Thomas F. Gulbronson, said last week.
Until then, he said, 45 pupils who have enrolled in the school will be taught elsewhere, probably in private homes of church members. The school will be opened with a rally Aug. 29, and classes are scheduled to begin the following day.
Neighbors of the church, at 700 W. Braddock Rd., have vehemently opposed the school, complaining its opening would add to problems of heavy traffic and noise. The city planning commission two weeks ago voted to recommend that the City Council deny a special use permit for the weekday school. The building is currently used for a Sunday school.
Gulbronson said the decision to delay opening the school was an effort "to show good faith and cooperation by going the second mile" and to allow the council time to address the constitutional issues the church says are involved.
He has said the church believes education is one of its God-given ministries, and denial of the permit for the school would violate its First Amendment rights guaranteeing freedom of religion.