Budget Cuts Close A Topeka Church

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-Cuts in spending for the 2014 budget forced Shawnee County Commissioners to make some tough decisions-
forcing a local congregation to sing songs of praise elsewhere.

On Thursday, the Shawnee County Commission approved the 2014 budget which cut the Parks and Recreation Department by $1.5 million. While the decision directly affects the Shekinah Glory Ministries congregation, they aren't giving up just yet.

For the past 2 years, Shekinah Glory Ministries church members have spent every Sunday dancing and belting out songs of prayer at the Juan "Poppy" Abbott Community Center, but this may be their last service.

The Shawnee County Commission is terminating its contract with Community First Inc--which means many programs inside the center will have to find new homes, including the Shekinah Glory Ministries Church--something that the church members say will be detrimental for the community.

"We have a cloth drive that the community is going to miss out on,
as for as the kids and adults we give out food, this community is going to take a big loss," says church member, Latoya Abbott.

"If you name the building after an Abbott, whether it was city or county,
whoever did it, then they should allow an Abbott in the building to run the building," says Pastor Samuel Abbott.

Pastor Abbott says he disagrees with the county's decision and he has a question for commissioners: "You're not from this community, you don't live in this community and you probably have only step foot in this community once or twice a year, so what qualifies you to know whats best for this community?"

Church members say they still have hope that they can stay and they believe in Pastor Abbot's words.

"To all the haters, we still here, we stronger than ever, and God is with us," says Pastor Abbott to the congregation.

Pastor Abbott says this may be a bump in the road, but Shekinah Glory Ministries church will continue to move forward.

"If God is shutting one door, he is opening another door," says Pastor Abbott.

Pastor Abbott says the Shekinah Glory Ministries church congregation will be moving to the City of Light Worship Center at 2300 southeast 6th street on September 4th.

On Wednesday at 6 p.m., neighborhood residents are invited to 1112 S.E. 10th Avenue to voice their opinions.