Church reaffirms food bank decision

The Unity Truth Centre on Arlington is standing by its decision to close the food bank that Winnipeg Harvest operated on its property.

Some of the church's members are unhappy with the decision.

But the minister wants her congregation to focus on more "church-like" activities.

Charlotte Prossen has only been minister of Winnipeg's Unity Truth Centre for two months. 

She says her decision to close the food bank has garnered some angry, even threatening, phone calls.

She admits some of the people in the church want the food bank to stay.

"They're unhappy because they've taken a stand that enforces to them that they're doing a great service by serving this food. But the program goes on, and they're welcome to volunteer in any place the program is offered."

Prossen says people in the congregation meant well when they first decided to get involved in the food bank.

But she says the group had been without a minister or leadership for years, and now, it needs to return to more spiritual pursuits.

"I don't know why it would be hard to understand that we are a church and we must identify ourselves as that in our community. We need to use our space, to introduce our programs to the community."

Prossen says there were several reasons she closed the project, including concerns about whether it was covered by the church's insurance.

She denies news reports that suggest the food bank was really shut down because some church members were uncomfortable with the street people who came to their building.

Instead, Prossen makes references to "unpleasant" and "unfortunate" situations that led to the decision. She says she's not at liberty to say what those situations are, although a prepared statement issued by the church does mention safety and protection concerns.