The vestry of the church of St. Mark’s on-the-Bouwerie locked its doors on Monday to the Body and Soul Clinic and, it became known, indicated that the clinic will not be permitted to open again after the month’s suspension to which Dr. Edward S. Cowles, director of the clinic, consented after a long period of controversy.
The action of the vestry brings to a close ten years of service on the part of the clinic and the closing, it is charged, is due to racial prejudice because the majority of the patients treated are Jews.
The eviction notice is signed by Dr. William N. Guthrie, rector of the Church, together with other members of the vestry. The latter’s communication, according to the “Herald-Tribune,” declared:
“In accordance with the foregoing statements of the corporation and its rector, you are hereby notified that the use of the church by the clinic will under no circumstances be permitted after July 31, 1932. We also notify you specifically that the use of the church will not be permitted for use by the clinic after the suspension beginning August 1, 1932 and, ending August 31, 1932, nor at any time thereafter.
“We trust that this letter is sufficiently definite and certain to cause you to remove any property that you may have on the premises of St. Mark’s without further notice.” This letter, dated July 26, was received by Dr. Cowles, on July 31st.
On Monday evening, following this communication, Dr. Cowles received a telegram from Dr. Guthrie declaring:
“I understand you will urge no objection to closing your clinic for August if this vacation be without prejudice to such right as you think you have. Now I did not exclude the clinic myself and have no intention of doing so, but this does not imply that I have the power to continue the hospitality I gladly gave it for ten years in the face of an opposing majority of trustees in accord with the diocesan.”
Dr. Cowles states he will seek a court decision in September if as he was informed by Dr. E. Clowes Chorley of Garrison, N. Y. and canonical authority of the Episcopal Church that St. Mark’s was chartered “under and conformable to the direction of statutes of this state.” If this is correct the vestry’s outster of the clinic is illegal, Dr. Cowles contends.
In the meantime, 150 patients who gathered before the church on Monday to receive clinic treatments were told to come to Dr. Cowles office where they received treatment without charge. Assistants of Dr. Cowles gave the treatment since the latter is suffering from bronchial pneumonia.