The Spokesman-Review

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Opening churches complicated

Kathy Evans is right on target (“Churches should open doors,” Oct. 18), but even though what she says is true about Christian philosophy, solutions are not always as easy or simple as one would think.

St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Moses Lake tried to open its doors to homeless people a few years back. A coalition of community churches worked together to find a working relationship. The church has a large basement with a full kitchen and lots of empty space. It sounded so easy, and then the roadblocks started appearing.

The 1950s building did not meet city safety and fire codes and improvements would be costly. There was fear of what type of problems might be caused by drug addicts, criminals and deviant behavior. There was fear for the safety of nearby neighbors. There was fear for children that might be playing in the adjacent park. Then the real problems began. Some of the church leaders insisted that Christianity must be a part of the program, taking precedence over food, shelter and clothing needs.

In the end, the project was tabled, a rather symbolic phrase for our message of inclusion of all at God’s table. Very sad.

Vaughn Blethen

Moses Lake



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