For the last 10 days the Mercy Junction Justice & Peace Center has been closed due to frightening, threatening and slanderous comments by two men who rent a studio space in the basement of the Justice & Peace Center. Because these men have a lease, there is nothing Mercy Junction can do to make them leave, except go through the court process. On Thursday, they were served with an eviction notice. The next step is an appearance in court where the judge will give an eviction order and they will be removed if they do not leave voluntarily. Because of the Memorial Day holiday, that court date will be June 8 or later. This means that Mercy Junction continues to lose revenue that is desperately needed to just pay the basic bills of the center as events and building partners cancel because they don't feel safe in the center. We have also issued refunds to those who had already paid to use space but didn't feel safe being in the center after these events. Some of the center's property, including a busted door, broken window and stolen keys, has also been damaged in acts of vandalism and burglary during this time. There is the additional cost of resources to repair, replace and clean after these acts. There is also court costs associated with going through the eviction process.
Already, Mercy Junction's Council of Elders has laid off all staff members and employees and the center is being operated by volunteer hours from the Council of Elders, which is made up of Samantha Bayles, Damien Crisp, Shelly Crisp, Joan Flores, Beth Foster, Kali Meister, Brian Merritt, Sadie Morgan, Maddie Nix and Susan Seretean.
We are entering into a crisis phase of being unable to pay the remainder of our bills for May and all of June's bills, as we wait for this situation to be resolved. Even with the center closed and all staff expense eliminated, monthly bills to be paid include the fire system, insurance for the center, electric, gas, internet, water, waste water, trash collection, etc.
Mercy Junction is an interfaith congregation committed to equality, hospitality, social justice and peacemaking. When the center is operating normally we have hospitality hours from 2 pm to 6:30 pm Monday through Friday. During these hours, the sanctuary is open for anyone needing a safe and comfortable place to pray, meditate, read, have a conversation or just take a nap. There is also a hot vegan meal, coffee, water and snacks. The Free Store is open during Hospitality Hours. The Free Store includes clothing, toiletries, household items and more. Everything is provided to all guests at no costs.
Please help us keep the Mercy Junction Justice & Peace Center alive during this very difficult time with whatever donation you can make.
Local news coverage of the situation can be found at these links:
- Michael Coward
- Liz Theoharis
- Valerie Cihyllik
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