Church closes its food bank because it attracts poor people

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Church closes its food bank because it attracts poor people

Postby weakmagneto on February 11th, 2013, 10:08 pm 

Is it ethical for a church to close its food bank because it attracts "poor people"?

This story from 2000 made me think about the above question and wonder about the beliefs and values of this particular church and its membership.

A busy church food bank, known for offering warm drinks and snacks to its regulars, has announced it’s closing because it is attracting too many poor people.

“‘It’s attracting a lot of street people that made it uncomfortable,’ said Charlotte Prossen, Unity Truth Centre minister Thursday, ‘It’s creating social unrest in the church’

“A food bank is a social service and that is not who we are.”

Ms. Prossen said the program is being cancelled to focus on more church-specific activities. The church’s board of trustees made the decision to cancel the bimonthly food bank after receiving an e-mail from a sister church in Victoria.

“Most clients of food banks have not yet come to a sense of personal responsibility in life. They are still in denial, blame or seeing the world as owing them,” wrote Rev. David Durksen of the Unity Church of Victoria.

Ms. Prossen praised the work done by food banks, and said the church will still collect food for baskets but focus more on people’s spiritual hunger.


Here's a backgounder for the 2000 story and recent follow up:
http://wafflesatnoon.com/2013/02/09/did ... or-people/
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Re: Church closes its food bank because it attracts poor peo

Postby Marshall on February 11th, 2013, 10:26 pm 

“Most clients of food banks have not yet come to a sense of personal responsibility in life. They are still in denial, blame or seeing the world as owing them,” wrote Rev. David Durksen of the Unity Church of Victoria.

Ms. Prossen praised the work done by food banks, and said the church will still collect food for baskets but focus more on people’s spiritual hunger.
=====endquote=====

Have to say I got a good laugh from the last paragraph. Without knowing circumstances or being able to judge in any way, it just seemed completely ridiculous.
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Re: Church closes its food bank because it attracts poor peo

Postby Forest_Dump on February 11th, 2013, 10:46 pm 

Kind of mind blowing. I think even Jesus had something to say about that kind of thinking. But it certainly raises the question of why these places get tax exemptions.
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Re: Church closes its food bank because it attracts poor peo

Postby Watson on February 11th, 2013, 11:34 pm 

Reminds me of the scorpion riding across the river on a turtles back?
Churches serve the people who can afford to be there. But it is still a church, casting out as the church needs dictates. Bingo any one?
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Re: Church closes its food bank because it attracts poor peo

Postby Natural ChemE on February 11th, 2013, 11:49 pm 

weakmagneto,

They tried in the first place. Even if they ended up having to back off, it’s respectable that they cared enough to try.

While their religion may’ve told them otherwise, there doesn’t appear to be any sort of magical reward for those who do good for their fellow man. Just like dumping sugar outside attracts ants, reliably handing out food attracts folks that you don’t want around while your children are playing in the front yard and you’re at work.
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Re: Church closes its food bank because it attracts poor peo

Postby Lomax on February 12th, 2013, 1:22 am 

Natural ChemE wrote:While their religion may’ve told them otherwise, there doesn’t appear to be any sort of magical reward for those who do good for their fellow man.

Other than tax-exempt status, as Forest points out. If they're not a social service, as they protest, then presumably they'll be handing that back to the state.
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Re: Church closes its food bank because it attracts poor peo

Postby Natural ChemE on February 12th, 2013, 2:53 am 

Lomax,

Here in the US, we have tax exemptions for 501(c) organizations, which include not only charities and churches, but things like social clubs and recreational clubs.

I’m not sure about in Canada, but here in the US, I don’t believe that churches don’t really need to justify their tax exemptions through charitable work. Plus in the US, advancing religion is considered to be charitable work – which may sound odd to us, but I’m sure that some folks see advancing religion like we might see promoting education.
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Re: Church closes its food bank because it attracts poor peo

Postby weakmagneto on February 12th, 2013, 9:36 am 

I guess the problems I have here is the stigma that comes with the term "street people" and the fear that it invokes. The way it sounds to me is that the street people are bad and scary. The danger with fear is that it sometimes leads to hate and discrimination. It makes me wonder what kind of spirituality that the church practices.

Ms. Prossen praised the work done by food banks, and said the church will still collect food for baskets but focus more on people’s spiritual hunger.


If street people aren't welcome around the church to feed their physical hunger, what makes anyone believe that this church would attend to their spiritual hunger? I view this church as being exclusive with its membership and services. If this is a christian church, I would certainly say that they are not following the preachings of Jesus.
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Re: Church closes its food bank because it attracts poor peo

Postby Eclogite on February 12th, 2013, 12:18 pm 

It's kind of difficult to focus on your responsibility for your own situation when your belly is empty and your children are listless.
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Re: Church closes its food bank because it attracts poor peo

Postby Forest_Dump on February 12th, 2013, 12:52 pm 

Well, I seem to recall that Jesus also caught flak for hanging out too much with the poor and sinners, etc.
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Re: Church closes its food bank because it attracts poor peo

Postby adacromega on September 13th, 2013, 2:23 pm 

Idiots must run this particular church. Where I come from, it's the churches who feed the poor. In other words, it's to be expected. I also find it strange that this story made the paper, perhaps an attempt at a reverse-psychology... something notable for the next time public funding is requested/debated. You know, "people have to eat and the churches are sick of doing it... see, it says right here!"
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