Church and housing haven't mixed well lately at Shiloh Baptist Church in Shaw, where church members and leaders are in a nasty battle about what to do with Shiloh's many properties. In a January letter to the Rev. Wallace Charles Smith, deacon Johnny M. Howard slammed a plan to sell land to fund repairs to a church-run community center.It seems that Deacon Howard does not grasp the concept of stewardship. I would be curious about when, if ever, he thinks selling real estate is a good thing for the church--clearly Shiloh Baptist Church cannot afford to maintain its properties (and haven't been able to do so for decades) and their properties present a major drain on their resources (e.g., I believe one commenter added it up and found that the church accrued about $80k in vacant property taxes alone last year), so why is not as good a time as any? If funding could help enhance the ministries in their inhabited properties (e.g., the threadbare life center or tattered daycare center), why not tap into some of their real estate holdings to help advance those causes? If Shiloh is so committed to affordable senior housing, why not sell to--or partner with--an organization that actually has experience in the complicated field of senior housing?
"Selling real estate in this day and time, when the community is changing, is not wise," Howard wrote. "The use of the property near and around the church can directly and adversely affect the mission of the church."
Monday, June 25, 2007
Shiloh Deacon Speaks to Church's Real Estate Holdings, Stewardship
Thanks to commenter Davester for pointing me to this WaPo article about affordable housing. The article contains a telling blurb about infighting at Shiloh Baptist Church over their vast vacant property portfolio. Here’s the blurb: