Fwd: Evansville: church wants homeless out

Agent Smiley (smiley_777@hotmail.com)
Mon, 15 Feb 1999 09:20:40 PST

----Original Message Follows----
Date:         Fri, 12 Feb 1999 22:49:49 PST
From: Blazing Star <sananda@hotmail.com>
Subject:      Evansville: church wants homeless out

Evansville, Indiana Friday, February 12, 1999

Troubled shelter sued

Church wants back rent

By Susan Taylor, Courier & Press staff writer

PRINCETON, Ind.  Hard times have gotten harder
for the Rev. Allen Rodgers and his homeless
followers at Bread of Life Tabernacle.

After staving off an eviction notice from the
Princeton building commissioner, Rodgers may still
have to close the shelter inside the church at 906
S. Gibson St.

That's because the building belongs to Hillside
Methodist Church, and Rodgers is about $66,300
behind in payments. Hillside filed suit this week
in Gibson Circuit Court.

Hillside's suit claims that its contract with
Rodgers has been violated and the property should
be returned to Hillside trustees.

The tabernacle has been housing and feeding the
homeless since March 1998, but the property is not
zoned for such use.

Cookie Edwards, Princeton's building commissioner,
issued Rodgers both verbal and written notices
last month to close the shelter.

Rodgers and about 100 supporters appealed to
Princeton City Council, which unanimously voted to
ask the board of zoning to study a zoning change
to allow the shelter.

Princeton City Attorney William "Bill" Wallace
said the request is on hold pending the outcome of
Hillside's suit.

Wallace said Rodgers can't ask for a zoning change
for property he doesn't own.

Rodgers signed the contract in March 1998 to buy
the church for $135,000 plus 5 percent interest.
Court records show Rodgers paid $1,000 down and
agreed to pay five $500 payments with a balloon
payment of $60,500 due in September of last year.

Rodgers was then scheduled to pay $1,000 monthly
until the pact was satisfied in June of 1999,
according to the lawsuit.

The church and the now 12 people living at the
shelter are being supported by donations and the
$17,000 salary made by Rodgers' wife, Darla.

Asked how he ever thought he could make a $60,500
balloon payment, Rodgers said Thursday: "That's
the $64,000 question right now."

He said he had hoped to have more donations coming
in, but for the past several months, "I've found
myself running into brick walls."

According to his contract with the church, Rodgers
is supposed to keep $50,000 of liability insurance
on the building. He said Thursday he has not
fulfilled that obligation.

"I think that's what alarmed the church
(Hillside)," Wallace said.

Wallace said Hillside could potentially be liable
if someone was injured on the property.

Leon Stone, the attorney representing the Hillside
board, declined to discuss details of the lawsuit.
"This is a case that is active in my office and I
don't talk about active cases," Stone said.
"We will have a hearing sooner or later and this
will all come out," Stone said. Gibson Circuit
Judge Walter Palmer has not set a hearing date.

Rodgers said because of all the controversy
surrounding the shelter, he has formed a board of
directors to oversee the tabernacle. "It's out of
my hands now. I've got a board," he said.

Rodgers would not name his board members because
he said he had not picked all 12 people yet.
There were 14 people living at the shelter at the
beginning of the month, but two people left
because of uncertainty that the tabernacle would
not be able to shelter them much longer, Rodgers

The minister vows to keep up his mission to the
hungry and homeless. But he admits being tired of
the legal fights.

"My body is weary, but my spirit is strong,"
Rodgers said.
"The universe is not to be narrowed down to the limits of our 
understanding...but our understanding must be stretched and enlarged to 
take in the image of the universe as it is discovered."
- Sir Francis Bacon

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