Monday, August 14, 2006

Churches need not apply 

A few months ago my church worked with a African Methodist Episcoplian Zion church to see if we could help them get into a building that would promote their ministry. The congregation was declining though, and their church recently disbanded. Too bad, it was a ministry that reached a number of families that had few resources but great joy at any rate.

In the process I learned of a second black church in the community -- which, given this place was called White Cloud when I moved here was a bit of surprise. That congregation is looking now to acquire its own space, but it's being blocked by zoning issues. The property the church proposes to buy is by a railyard and other industrial businesses. Safety, they say, is the issue.


"I'm a Christian man. I go to church regularly. ... But I need to say this because it's a concern deep in my heart and that is the safety of children," Jim Schiffler said.

Schiffler spoke on behalf of Monumental Sales Inc., which is kitty-corner to the site eyed by Nu Way Missionary Baptist Church.

"I understand the dangers involved in blending facilities that have children present in industrial locations ... because I have personally asked young people to leave our property many, many times because they are curious."

He presented the commission with the names of 284 area residents who, he said, had similar concerns against rezoning the industrial building to allow Nu Way to
move in.

If this is an industrial area, where did those 284 area residents come from? Do any of them have children?

What isn't written there is that about two blocks away are many apartment buildings, some of which contain families of color that might use Nu Way. It could be that these places are trying to avoid lawsuit liability -- which in my perfect world the church would indemnify the industries against any suits arising from their children spilling into the neighboring businesses -- but if there are so many families available to sign this document, this isn't just an industrial area now, is it?