Friday, November 02, 2007

Church will defy city and open shelter

A downtown Green Bay church will defy the city's order and give homeless, mentally ill people a place to stay overnight.

For the past two winters, St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church has opened its doors to the most troubled homeless people needing a warm place to sleep. It was the only shelter in Brown County that accepted the mentally ill or people who had been drinking. About two dozen people used the shelter every night.

In August, after complaints from neighbors, the city council voted unanimously to take away the church's permission to operate an overnight shelter. City and county officials then made a goal of finding a new shelter by November first, but weren't able to do so.

The Reverend Guy Blair says the church has a right to serve the homeless.

Mayor Jim Schmitt said if the shelter opens without the proper permit, the City will likely take action.

Read the WBAY report here.


At 7:54 PM, Blogger Anonymous Law Student said...

What kind of liability will the shelter be looking at if they open up without a permit?

At 10:36 AM, Blogger Jacqueline Dowd said...

I don't know anything about Wisconsin law or code enforcement in Green Bay, but in Orlando the maximum penalty would be $500 per day.

In West Palm Beach, the county fined Westgate Tabernacle $100 a day for operating a shelter without a permit -- in other words, letting homeless people sleep in the church. The fines totaled about $30,000 before the dispute ended up in court.

At 10:36 PM, Blogger Elder Alan Clapsaddle said...

Sheltering is a core mission of being a church. It is not an ancillary use. The purposes of the church are defined in 'The Great Ends Of The Church.'

The great ends of the church are

the proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind;

the shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God;

the maintenance of divine worship;

the preservation of the truth;

the promotion of social righteousness; and

the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world.

It is a tragedy an afront to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that so few churches follow them. I applaud this church for being true to the calling of the Gospel.

Westgate Tabernacle has been sheltering and feeding the Lord's poor since 1929, there will be about 80 saints sleeping there tonight.

Westgate is in the middle of 8 year RLUIPA (Religious Land Use and Instiutionalized Persons Act) case that is now on its way to the 4 District Court of Appeals.

Pastor Alan Clapsaddle


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