A neighbor complained because we were feeding the homeless on church property.
So, two weeks ago, we were told by the City of Phoenix that we cannot feed the homeless on our property. It was said that we were in violation of our zoning ordinance. As explained to us, feeding the homeless can only occur in a commercial or industrial zones, and we are residential. But I believe the officials are redefining us as a “Charity Dining Hall”…or a “Religious Mission.” Both of those entities have these zoning restrictions. Our appeal to the city is that we are a “Church” and as such, the zoning ordinance does not restrict us from feeding the homeless.
More than that, we are a church who has a core belief in the action of faith. Faith, for us, is not just something we talk about…it is something we do.
In a city where homelessness is on the rise, where new first-time homeless families are showing up, and where even children and teens are being raised without roofs over their heads, this church, CrossRoads United Methodist, is stepping up to address a problem. It does not make sense to ask us to stop for any reason!
We want to be good neighbors. And for us, we see the “neighbor” as defined in the story of The Good Samaritan. We will not pass by the neighbors with houses, nor the neighbors with out houses. For it is our charge to live out our faith in the world, so that the one left broken, beaten down, and hungry is cared for, loved, and given hope.