Flint church struggling to stay afloat

(Source: WNEM)

A local church is in trouble and running out of options.

It is a place residents can turn to when they are down on their luck or in need during the Flint water crisis. But now it's turning to the public in its time of weakness.

The Lincoln Park United Methodist Church said the economy has dealt a massive blow to some of its members and it's having a hard time making ends meet.

That could mean big problems for the facility, which for years has made sure underprivileged community members could get a hot meal from their kitchen.

The church's role has become even more critical as of late - serving as a hub for thousands to find clean bottled water and supplies as Flint works through the water crisis.

"The lives of people have changed and they don't think of church like they used to," said Ira Wells, trustee.

Wells said it's a problem larger than Lincoln Park United Methodist Church with declining membership and finances in disarray.

"And the church is going to go down because that's our resources," Wells said.

Lincoln Park isn't just a resource to its members. It also plays a larger role in Flint.

People flock to the church's soup kitchens daily for free meals and it also serves as a distribution center for bottled water as the city grapples with the ongoing water crisis.

Now the congregation is in need of resources of its own to stay afloat.

"And I think the fabric of the churches in America is like that," Wells said.

Lincoln Park was one of the first churches to provide resources to residents in need.

Now it has a simple ask of its community.

"On Sunday mornings at 11 o'clock come and see and hear the word and then make your own decision," Wells said.

When Wells joined the congregation five years ago the church was growing. It has since struggled to attract new families living through the water crisis.

With help from the state and Catholic charities it continues to provide food and water to residents, but it needs help to keep going.

"God is not dead. He's still alive. He will provide for us and bring us back to where we need to be," Wells said.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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