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John McGary

Pulaski County church likely to stop serving as warming center; looking for new facility

New Life Church is in Ferguson, a town of about 900 in south central Kentucky. Five years ago, they started offering their community building as a warming center on cold nights. Mission Director Bobbie Joe Loveless says all went well the first few years, but the last couple, some who spent the night left behind things that could hurt people – especially kids who come for a free meal on Wednesday nights and for Sunday school. Nicole Walden is the wife of pastor Doug Walden.

“One time we had a little girl that picked up a pill and started to put it in her mouth. Thankfully, an adult was there and caught it. But it's just not a chance we can take with having, you know, children in the premises right after the hours that we would have.”

She said they found two needles and Loveless found a broken meth pipe. Earlier this week, he told the Commonwealth News-Journal the church probably wouldn’t serve as a warming center anymore. After the article was published, people who’d never been to the church posted hurtful messages – just as some did when they opened the warming center.

“Everybody had to say how un-Christian like we were to let people freeze to death. And things like that. But that's all right. You know, we know what we're doing. We know why we're doing it. And I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for a different facility.”

Nicole Warden:

“We know that we've done everything that we can, and we'll continue. Our works aren't done. But we just need more people to get on board with supporting so that we can find a facility and open another facility, or rent out a facility during the winter months to be able to warm our homeless friends.”

Warden said at least 10 of those friends have found permanent places to live. Loveless said several have found the Lord. Both said they’ll keep working to find a place to keep people warm this winter.

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