A church in Malibu, California, that provides weekly meals to homeless people has been told by the city that it needs to stop.
What’s going on?
The United Methodist Church in Malibu has been serving meals to 70-100 homeless people every Wednesday since 2014, but that will change after Thanksgiving.
City officials sent the church an email recently asking leaders to attend a meeting. It was at that meeting that the church was told to stop providing the meals.
"We were asked, very succinctly,” Dawn Randall, a volunteer, told KCBS-TV.
The reason? According to officials, the church is responsible for increasing homelessness. However, no explanation was provided as to how the church is exacerbating the city’s homelessness problem.
Has the church’s program been beneficial?
According to one homeless man who is a weekly attendee, the church has been a great refuge during his time of need.
"It’s a safe place and everyone is welcome. And the food is really good. It’s home-cooked,” Michah Johnson told KCBS.
"The church is very helpful,” he added. "They keep my spirits up. They keep me accountable. When you’re homeless, it’s very easy to slip off and become jaded.”
Should the church stop? This writer’s perspective:
Simply: No. Although to avoid problems with the city, the church could distribute food and resources in a less organized way.
Aside from worshiping Jesus together and fostering an environment of love wholesome relationships, one of the most important things a church community can do is to go outside and meet the vulnerable people — the poor, widows, orphans and immigrants — exactly where they are and help meet their needs.
It should not be overlooked that Jesus began his ministry by first announcing his kingdom to those who were most marginalized, those who were on the outskirts of society.
Providing food to those who don’t have it or have the means to get it is just one way a group of Christians can reach out to the vulnerable in their community and let them know they are loved.
Politics be damned, the food distribution from members of the United Methodist Church in Malibu should not end.