Of all the stories I’ve heard of Jesus, he befriended the downtrodden.
Economic problems first put a Columbus church in danger of closing, but now the people it serves are the main issue.
Living Hope Tabernacle leaders decided to change the church’s mission to include housing the homeless, but the church didn’t follow zoning rules and the landlord didn’t approve the change, 6News’ Rick Hightower reported.
Some of the poorest of the poor find sanctuary inside the church’s tiny storefront, but the church’s pastor, Christopher Rutan, said he has until Feb. 19 to shut it down.
The economy caused the congregation’s leaders to fall behind on rent, but even after someone stepped forward to pay it, the property owner said the church has to go because of the minister’s decision to let homeless people start sleeping in the pews.
6News attempted to reach the landlord for comment, but he didn’t respond. Columbus city officials would have to alter zoning regulations to allow the church/homeless shelter to stay where it is.
Rutan said he had no intention of starting a homeless shelter, but when temperatures dipped well below zero a few weeks back, he said he couldn’t help but open the door and let people in out of the cold.
“The reason we did it is because we had one man freeze to death here in Bartholomew County on Christmas,” Rutan said.