Church responds to stabbing at shelter

After last night’s stabbing at the shelter inside Trinity United Methodist Church, Reverend Rich Lang is sending the following letter to neighbors:

To our Neighbors,

As you know a major incident happened last night at the shelter between the hours of 8:30-9pm. Two residents of the Vets Hall Shelter broke into a fight, which escalated into a stabbing.

The “victim” was taken to the hospital and will not return as a resident to the shelter. The man who did the stabbing is known and being sought and will be charged with felony assault.

We’d like to thank the police and fire departments for their prompt and professional excellence in this emergency. We’d also like to thank watchful neighbors, the Shelter itself, and our live-in security person, Randy Thompson, for their immediate calling of the police as the incident began to flare.

This is the first incident of violence with a weapon in the ten years of our active ministry with the homeless. Although our systems of security responded quickly and effectively, we nevertheless deeply regret the disruption of our neighborhood security. We affirm that, as neighbors, you have every right to a secure street. As you know we have recently added a paid Security Officer that monitors our Saturday Soup kitchen. Thankfully in the three years of our open house hospitality we have had no major incident during that ministry. The Security officer was hired because we are seeing, as you are seeing, that with this economic downturn, the streets are becoming more desperate and despairing. This is a political matter of great concern. It is also a matter of moral concern: we acknowledge that feeding folks and housing folks is not enough. What is needed is transformation of character, and reorientation of desire, along with a restructuring of our economy.

At Trinity we desire to move beyond charity into relational ministries of transformation. It is a long road, and difficult work. We acknowledge our dependence on your good will, and we take very seriously our responsibility to provide neighborhood tranquility. In the course of our work, and our life together, incidents happen. We want to re-affirm that although this incident was an anomaly, we will nevertheless increase our diligence in providing safe, sane, and sober neighborly relations.

On behalf of Trinity United Methodist Church,

Rev. Rich Lang
www.tumseattle.org

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Anna
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Anna

Wow. Beautifully expressed. I'm hugely impressed.

Idle Activist
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Idle Activist

Rich 'Jim Jones' Lang strikes again.

pattr
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pattr

The middle of a neighborhood is not the place for a homeless shelter period. There are too many variables that cant be adequately mitigated against. While there heart is in the right place the shelter is in the wrong place

zeef
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zeef

Say what you may about the shelter, the fact that Rev. Lang has 'stepped up' immediatley to address the action and not blame it on someone else, is refreshing.

facebook-1365362509
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The homeless ARE our neighbors.

Ytoo
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Ytoo

Perhaps this is a neighborhood that you should consider leaving since it does not serve your needs or desires.

Idle Activist
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Idle Activist

Sure, once you bus them in.

gurple
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I agree. I particularly agree with him about the politics and economics of the situation — the current state of our streets has a lot to do with the economic downturn. It would be nice to hear specifics about what he will do to “increase… diligence”, but I suspect it's a bit too soon for that.

nwcitizen
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nwcitizen

Thank you Rev. Lang for your prompt response to this incident. Thank goodness for Churches who see it as their mission to care for those most in need. It is not an easy task especially in this time of dwindling resources.

Wow, 10 years and this is the first incident of violence involving a weapon. That is remarkable. Would that the rest of our community were as cared for and safe. Kudos to you and your congregation which so actively supports this mission.

Ytoo
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Ytoo

Idle 99% of those who live in Ballard were not born here thus were 'bussed' in somehow.

shanedillon
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shanedillon

Rich is a good guy and has worked hard to screen at the shelter, please the neighbors, and not be associated with the Our Redeemers shelter that failed to do any of those things mentioned.

I am sure he is deeply saddened and is already working on a way to step up the screening/security and make it safe.

Unfortunately 'crazy' people do crazy things, and they need professional help not a shelter, or worse still camped out on the street.

maitland
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maitland

The difference between his response and that of the church housing the failed Share shelter is remarkable.

ken
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ken

While it is easy to focus on this one act, which is grouped in with a bunch of similar acts recently in Ballard, it is pretty remarkable it's the first violent incident in 10 years. It's sad that it takes one stain on a 10 year history to ruin everyone's perception. Honestly, I didn't even KNOW there was a shelter at this location until this incident. I think that speaks well for it.

That being said, it's a shame that it's caused many people in the neighborhood to feel unsafe. I'm one of the people whose houses got searched by the police with guns and dogs last night looking for the suspect, and it didn't make me feel too great, that's for sure.

Idle Activist
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Idle Activist

” it is pretty remarkable it's the first violent incident in 10 years”

Remarkable because it's unprovable. Do you think he counts what his bums do beyond a one block radius as his problem?

ken
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ken

Agreed. I don't know Rev. Land, but he seems like a stand up guy. I feel bad this happened, and while it's easy to draft up a statement that will make people feel better, I think he's honestly going to try and fix this wound on the neighborhood.

I hate to say it, but at least it happened inside the shelter between 2 residents, and it wasn't a case where someone ventured out of the church (or ventured to the church) and caused harm to a resident of the neighborhood, or child. I'm not saying, “I'm glad this happened to a homeless dude”. I'm just saying that had this happened to, say, a woman walking home from the gym, then the situation would be so much worse.

plumbe
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plumbe

THE BIG SPIN IS UNDERWAY!…….MANY THINGS HAVE GONE ON, THIS ONE THEY GOT CAUGHT REDHANDED.

A BIG WELCOME TO ALL THE TRINITY MEMBERS WHO JUST JUMPED ON THIS FORUM….

June
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June

Point taken.

I do believe he would see it as possibly his problem, but I also see where he wouldn't even know if something happened or not. There's no way to keep track of all that, he can only keep track of what happens at his facility.

Stan Boresome
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Stan Boresome

We expect it to get worse without jobs being created during this recession. 2010 should be a riot!

Idle Activist
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Idle Activist

“especially in this time of dwindling resources”

Well that's not an issue for Rev. Rich 'Jim Jones' Lang of the People's Church because he has spoken out quite loudly in the past about his opposition to the concept of 'private property'. That pretty much sums up his opinions of hard working neighbors and home owners.

kim
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kim

there is nothing political about it! trinity is hiding behind a problem that is bipartisan if even that!!!! don't fall for it. it's strictly moral and criminal. for all the bleeding hearts that don't take responsibility for this act, you're just as liable. yes plumbe, you're correct. let the spinning commence.

Nehalennia
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Nehalennia

What he chooses to neglect is that the police is called there at least once a month. I live close to the church; i see the police cars. When the cops are there, Rich Lang is nowhere to be seen. The fact that there was one violent guy known to the police shows that Trinity does not do background checks and can care less who they put there. Most of the congregation, including Rich Lang, do not live close enough to the church to feel they put the neighborhood at risk.

sdrake1958
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sdrake1958

This stuff is right in my backyard. My back door looks into this church and at first was a bit paranoid about these guys being there. Seems I forgot about them! To me this does mean they've done a pretty good job and intend to keep everybody “safe” here. I just get tired of their alley the goes in back of this church where other neat stuff happens. Where's the gate there please? Like anybody wants a person like this around. Seems he'll now get housing in the KCJ and beyond. Nice gift to himself!

Bjorn Toobywild
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Bjorn Toobywild

Do the homeless visitors do chores or attend services at the church?

Idle Activist
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Idle Activist

Please, 95% of these upstanding bums would be unemployed in a good economy.

Robert
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Robert

LOL

So very true.

I hate the “economy” excuses.