The congregation of Our Redeemer’s Church is planning to vote on whether to allow a controversial SHARE homeless shelter move into Calvary Lutheran Church without sex offender background checks, several neighbors tell My Ballard. They said they were informed of the new development by Pastor Steve Grumm over the weekend while they were helping church staff spruce up the grounds around the vacant Calvary Lutheran building (below) in Loyal Heights. Neighbors say the congregation-only vote is scheduled for May 7th.
We spoke to Pastor Grumm this evening at home. “We’re not going to share any information,” Grumm said, explaining that the church had decided to stop talking with the media until they have an announcement in “a week to 10 days.” He refused to confirm a report posted a few hours earlier that quotes the church’s own spokesperson confirming the vote. “What the situation is today changes tomorrow,” he said. “Everything now is conjecture.” Grumm said the church is still “in the midst of a conversation” with neighbors.
One neighbor who’s been actively involved in these conversations says a representative from the neighborhood will be attending the May 7th vote to present their position. “I hope the congregation takes into account the neighborhood views and concerns,” he said. “We’ve been working in good faith and hope they will, too.” Another neighbor, who also asked that we not use his name, expressed his frustration that the decision will be in the hands of the Our Redeemer’s congregation. “I was formerly against this shelter -– now I am steadfastly against this shelter,” he said.
Timeline of major developments:
February 19: Homeless shelter moving into Calvary Lutheran
February 26: Emotions run high at packed community meeting
February 28: Church postpones homeless shelter move, forms task force
March 20: Food Bank closes up soup kitchen at Calvary Lutheran
April 22: SHARE refuses to submit to sex offender checks