ST. LOUIS (KMOX)- Some of the St. Louis area’s homeless who had been living in tents outside the city’s Biddle House homeless shelter, until evicted last Friday, won’t be moving down the block, at least anytime soon.
Following Sunday morning’s service at the Stranger’s Home Missionary Baptist Church, the congregation took no action on a request from New Life Evangelistic Center to allow a temporary tent encampment on the church’s fenced-in back yard.
Deacon Lonnie Middlebrook told KMOX News it’s not an easy decision, “I’ve been thinking about it and been discussing it with the pastor, and we just haven’t really came to a (recommendation), because there’s a lot to consider.”
Some in the congregation said allowing the encampment would be what God wants them to do, while others were concerned about insurance liability and monitoring of the campers to make sure they didn’t break any code of conduct rules set up by New Life.
Rev. Larry Rice of New Life did not attend the service, but spoke with KMOX News outside the church’s front entrance, “I’m trying to get some houses right now, but in the meantime, it’s allow them to wander the streets all night long and die alone out there, or let them be in community and give them attention.”
New Life offered a $1,000 per month donation to the church if it decides to allow the encampment of up to ten people in half-a-dozen tents.
After some worship and pointed discussion on Sunday, the Stranger’s Home congregation decided not to give Rice a yes or no.
The input was nearly fifty-fifty, so church leaders asked for more time to pray on the request.
Stranger’s Home celebrated its 88th anniversary as a church on Sunday.