Charity evicted from Lake Country church over conflict of beliefs | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Charity evicted from Lake Country church over conflict of beliefs

The Winfield Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Image Credit: Google Maps
July 19, 2020 - 6:30 AM

A Lake Country charity may be forced to close forever after it was forced to close its operating space with a church due to a conflict in belief systems.

All Are Family Outreach, a registered non-profit, has been operating for the last six years out of the Winfield Seventh-Day Adventist Church, but rising tensions with how the non-profit stored its meat in the church as well as the church’s beliefs on gender-identity led to the end of their agreement with the church, said Lia Froeze, public relations manager with All Are Family Outreach.

“They decided the outreach we were running didn’t align with their values," she said. “All Our Family Outreach is a non-denominational charitable agency. We have been working through the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, however, we’ve never required that those we assist be members of the church or be of a certain faith. We help people from all walks of life. Originally this was an understanding with the church… and they agreed and that was great, but they became increasingly concerned about our choices to do things like supply meat."

The news came last week.

“They gave us a couple of days basically,” she said, adding that the news came as a surprise, but they've had conversations with church members about the tensions previously.

The church organizers told the charity they wanted to go in a different direction, but Froeze said there has been comments made by congregation members, not those who run the church, that have been homophobic and that church members did speak to them about the desire to not have meat at the facility.

The church, however, denies the ongoing tension over these issues and how it impacted their decision.

“Due to confidentiality and respect to the (All Are Family Outreach) and the Winfield Seventh Day Adventist Church, we cannot not share more information. But please be assured that the service to the community will carry on, only in a different form. It is a needed work that we want to see continued," the Seventh-day Adventist Church regional conference in B.C. said in a statement.

Josue Molina, pastor of the Winfield church as well as the Orchard City Seventh Day Adventist church, said the reasons around meat and how the conflicting beliefs around the church views gender identity is not the reason for the closure.

“Although we support a healthy eating and lifestyle, we have never forced that through our outreach volunteers or community. We are a welcoming church, hence for years we supported a ministry from our church to the community,” he said via email, adding that those reasons All Are Family listed would never come up as a restraint for helping people.

He noted that in a church board meeting, the mandate of the ministry is to support those in dire need.

On the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s website, it states: “Due to contemporary trends to reject the biblical gender binary (male and female) and replace it with a growing spectrum of gender types, certain choices triggered by the transgender condition have come to be regarded as normal and accepted in contemporary culture. However, the desire to change or live as a person of another gender may result in biblically inappropriate lifestyle choices.”

“According to Scripture, our gender identity, as designed by God, is determined by our biological sex at birth.”

All Our Family Outreach is currently in need of a new facility which can house food donations, Froeze said. The charity is run entirely by roughly 20 volunteers, and without a permanent location, it impacts the ability of clients to access donations, she said. There is a possibility that it could close forever if they're unable to find a new location.

The charity was open for two days a week to provide food and they also delivered food to those in need.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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