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TENNESSEE: Popular daycare faces eviction after Episcopal Diocese legal fight

TENNESSEE: Popular daycare faces eviction after Episcopal Diocese legal fight
Bishop John C. Bauerschmidt wants prime Green Hills location for office space

January 28, 2013

A longtime Nashville daycare operation is being evicted, leaving dozens of families in the lurch, after it found itself caught in the middle of a brutal legal battle over the role of sexuality in the Episcopal Church.

The fight over sexuality and the Bible seemed like a legal disagreement between the Diocese of Tennessee and St. Andrew's Parish, but the innocent victim in all this is the daycare that sits on church property in Green Hills.

Cooperative Child Care has had a successful model - no scandals, no issues and 30 years of quality service - but now it has been given six months to get out.

Despite 50 kids, 10 full-time employees, a three-star rating and an extensive waiting list, being good sometimes isn't enough.

"We do the best for our kids, and we make the best decision at the time and hope it all works out for the best. There were no winners in this situation, unfortunately - whether it's us or St. Andrews or the diocese," said Hannah Dwyer, whose child attends the daycare.

When the Diocese of Tennessee won its legal battle with St. Andrew's, it also won property of the church and the daycare just next door.

The diocese wants that prime Green Hills location for office space, and with no legal obligation to honor a lease from St. Andrew's that stretched to June 2014, the diocese has given Cooperative Child Care until May 31 to vacate the premises.

"It's very stressful and requires a lot of time and planning to think about where we want to be," said daycare manager Melissa Weakley.

The daycare's leaders and the dozens of parents affected by the eviction are hoping they will be able to soon find a different facility to call their own.

"In Nashville, we know when someone is in need, Nashville steps up. So if we could get the community thinking, we know there is a lot out there we are not even aware of. So hopefully someone else can step up," Dwyer said.

Leaders with the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee contend they have been truly generous with Cooperative Child Care and that the diocese is actually losing money by renting office space in MetroCenter when it owns this property near Woodmont Boulevard it could move into tomorrow.


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