Last week’s Tele-Talk question — “Do you agree with town officials that running a homeless program is a normal function of a church?” — received 50 responses, with most agreeing with the town that such programs are a normal church function. The full selection of responses is below.

Yes, I agree with town officials that running a homeless program is a normal function of a church. As a member of the board for the Way Station, we visited several N.H. and Mass. organizations providing similar services as the Way Station. Several of those were church-sponsored and housed. As you look around the valley, there is no one providing the services the Way Station does. We have coordinated with multiple local organizations and services, all of which are excited to see the Way Station succeed. We have carefully tailored the services to what we have been counseled the valley needs and we are working with a team of excited volunteers to slowly implement a solution to what has been determined as a true void in the area. Jeanette Heidmann, Center Conway.

When people understand the mission of a church, according to the Bible, we know that we need to feed the hungry, tend the poor and make a welcome place for all of God’s children. Nativity Lutheran Church has been feeding the hungry for more years than I can remember — no strings attached — no sign in — first name basis only — no fee — no donations required — only a warm welcome, glad you’re here and usually a “doggie bag” if you’d like one. The information is always in The Conway Daily Sun Saturday church notices. The paper also had a very informative article that covered what the Way Station was all about, where it was going to be, who was involved. So hopefully the way the valley celebrated Gay Pride Week, it will also celebrate The Way Station. Irene Lundquist, Brownfield, Maine.

Really unfair to share misinformation with the public and then ask them how they feel. I wish that everyone in the MWV understood and accepted that we really do have a homeless problem. Yes, children are involved. It takes a village my friends, and in our case an entire community. It is not a pity party, these are human lives. We have the resources, let’s set an example for other tourist communities. If we can be recognized as one of best ski towns in the country, let’s strive to be one of most caring communities as well. I do not pretend to have all the answers, and I feel strongly that there must me accountably. It is not always about the money. Many times it is about awareness, acceptance and resources. The funding will follow. Let’s make a positive difference in our community one person at a time.

The wording on your Tele-Talk question is definitely pretty bizarre. The role of the church is whatever that particular church decides to do. The Lutheran Church has always aided in helping many areas in this community. They're wonderful non-judgmental people who welcome all; that includes people in transitional housing, people that have no housing or whatever resources they might be lacking or needing. That is part of their mission. Because there was an isolated incident, it does not mean that that should ruin the mission of their program. People want to turn a blind eye that there's people in transitional housing or homeless or in need of resources around here. It exists. They should be commended for their work and efforts. It's really unfortunate that that happened to the neighbors but it sounds like they're pretty snooty neighbors to begin with. I believe that the organization will rectify any problems and things should move forward as it was planned. The town’s on board, the rest of the community needs to be on board. I commend all the people that are involved and people should also know that people who are running the program have to go through some pretty rigorous training. Leave them alone and help the people that need help and not everybody that goes there is an addict or alcoholic. Stop with that sigma.

I do not agree with town officials that running a homeless program is a “normal function of a church.” More importantly I think the bigger question is whether it is the best thing to do for the homeless. Certainly the church being kind, thoughtful and compassionate to the homeless that arrive on their doorstep and then directing them for whatever services they may need is a humane and Christian thing to do. However, I believe the homeless, which many times have serious mental health and or addiction issues would be much better served by the church by directing the homeless to our existing local service agencies that have trained professionals who understand the issues the homeless are faced with and can provide them or direct them to the services that they may need. In addition, I believe it would have also been kind, thoughtful and compassionate of the church to inform town officials and the abutters and owners of the properties in that neighborhood and what they were tentatively planning before they started this homeless program. Finally, the town officials that reportedly dismissed the complaint as a “normal function of the church” should have been more thoughtful to the affected neighbors with respect to the church running day programs for the homeless in zoned residential/commercial area.

I do not feel that the homeless program is a normal function of the church. In fact I do not feel that the people are equipped to handle addiction and psychiatric problems that come with homelessness.

What a stupid question, of course churches is do stuff like that. That's what they're supposed to do, help people, people that need stuff you’re supposed to help them. These Sullivan characters think they can do whatever they want in this town. I’m sick of them.

Liberals, bleeders and most of all insane Demorats — you children count the number of buses showing up in Conway. The churches and politicians are small minds. Just remember Demorats, your platform is love and hate. You love what you do but you hate what commonsense real people do. God save commonsense.

I believe the program clearly falls under normal church outreach and running a homeless program is a normal function of a church. The particular couple that complained is not even in the area most of the year so this should go under the cover of much adieu about nothing. North Conway.

As a single mother of four who has maintained a job my whole life and experienced homelessness for a year with my children here in the valley before the Way Station — this is LONG overdue. I was told by the town I had a job and a car I would be fine. I called homeless outreach daily with no help. They’re a paid position with access to federal money and grants and they could not help me. Now, we have an amazing group of citizens in our community who have spent many hours to come up with a solution to help. The church was so kind to provide a space. Conway Sun ... help create solutions not debate.

I about fell out of my chair while reading this. No one has a say in whom we are charitable to. I could allow the homeless to enter my home to eat and shower. Wouldn't need the town’s permission and I would definitely not need my neighbor’s permission. If they are panhandling and there are ordinances on that, then that's another story. But they still should have use of the church.

Absolutely, I agree that a function of a church is helping the least fortunate among us. What does “unsavory” even mean? North Conway isn’t a Hollywood set; there is more homelessness and poverty than many of us realize and I commend the Lutheran Church for their efforts.

What else are churches supposed to be for? I can think of quite a few reasons that make me wary of churches but this is a good thing. Bless the volunteers who donate their time and energy to helping them. Shame on the Sun for asking another inflammatory question.

I believe that, traditionally, churches have offered creature comforts, but your question is poorly worded. Offering charity to the less fortunate is very much in line with true Christian values, but is not necessarily in the business of running a homeless shelter. They are supposed to be in the business of saving souls, but with all their recent activity in the political arena the word “normal” doesn’t really have meaning. Do I personally believe they should help the homeless? Yes. But I foolishly also believe they should keep their noses out of politics.

I am not a Christian, but I was raised Catholic and share quite a few Christian values — especially those of fellowship of man and stewardship of the earth. In my knowledge of the teachings of Jesus, this should be the PRIMARY function of a church — to find fault in this mission because of the inconveniences it places on the comfort of "the haves" is fundamentally unchristian.

Of course it's the task of all religious institutions to provide aid and comfort to any afflicted beings. That is the essence of religious intent.

The church can assist the needy however they choose, helping those in need of resources and help is to be commended. It's beyond homeless needs being met by these kind folks who, by the way, receive training for this.

If churches are going to advocate helping the less fortunate, and also enjoy tax exempt status, this is a natural and appropriate thing for them to do, with clear guidelines on where and when the beneficiaries may gather. As for neighbors; if you buy a house in the center of a town, or near a church, it would seem to me that you are accepting the people, noise and activities that will be going on around busy commercial and public spaces.

Very much a “Not In My Back Yard” or NIMBY situation. We all want to help the homeless but don't want to see them around our own home, or at least that's how it appears in the Sun story.

I think it’s a normal function of a church, but it would have been nice for the church to have notified its neighbors of the homeless program as a considerate gesture.

Your Tele-Talk question is totally unfair to these neighbors. Of course we all, and these neighbors, are respectful of helping the homeless as this church has proposed to do. Unfortunately, the well-intentioned program has not been properly “overseen.” Not acceptable, hopefully they will be more “helpful” to those in need and to the Way Station’s neighbors. All those criticizing the neighbors’ concerns are such hypocrites as I am sure they would be concerned if drug addicts roamed around their back door. These neighbors helped these homeless, God Bless their kindness. Shame on The Conway Daily Sun for making this a controversial issue.

I don’t see a huge problem with temporary needs. But the church should be responsible for making sure the people aren’t panhandling and leaving the neighbors alone. Private property should not be infringed upon. I see helping people in need but not those who are just lazy and asking for something free.

Unbelievable. It is not even a church program. I cannot believe this crap. The Lutheran Church has provided a space for the center.

Pastor Nathan Hall is a wonderful and understanding man who only wants the best for his community. I do not attend his church but I have worked with him through my job at the peer support center in Conway. These stuck up neighbors just don’t want to have to see that poor people live in the community.

Oh geez, I'm more concerned with some of the people who live on Grove Street than the homeless families trying to get help. This is what's wrong with the world, no one wants to help, everyone's selfish and complaining, there will never be peace until everyone stops being selfish and starts being good human beings.

We do have a problem with homeless in our area. They are not just bums, they’re families that can’t find a place they can afford, as well as seniors who can't find a place either. It’s something that needs addressing.

If the damn town would do their job and actually help people BEFORE they became homeless, we would not have a need for the Way Station. But because of endless paperwork, promises of firstborns and other unreasonable requirements, people avoid the town office for help simply because most of the time they are turned away anyway.

This is an ignorant question at best. It's well known that one of the many roles of the church, any church, is to help those in need. Maybe they should've signed the location better, but they don't need their neighbor's permission. We should be glad there are those who want to help the homeless in the area, instead of pretending the problem doesn't exist. It wouldn't hurt for landlords to lower the rent a little either. What they charge around here is insane.

When people are talking about people seeking for asylum in our country many are outraged and say, "We have homeless here, let's help them first." Well? Now someone is helping our homeless.

The town has always tried to hide the fact that homeless families live in Conway. Always have been shacks down where hog stadium is now and in Conway under the bridge.

If you want to make America great again, make homes affordable again. Make it so you can live on 40 hours a week again.

You never did an article about the "unsavory element at Hannaford and Walmart," when people were begging with signs the last few summers at the entrance to both store parking lots. Two people do not represent all of the homeless people in the area. It was a lazy, sensationalist article low on facts and high on clickbait. Do better Conway Daily Sun. The role of a community should be to help their citizens, not just a church or one organization.

Providing a space for people to congregate and help people in need seems like a normal function of a church.

Churches are for those in need. Yes, that includes the homeless. I’m not sure why this is a question. The issue the neighbors have seems to be different. Maybe try rewording it and starting over.

The town should consult other communities who successfully operate these programs, with the church being involved in those discussions.

It would depend on the program. A food hand-out or internet access night, no. Lodging — yes.

Yes, I agree with the town officials that running a homeless program is a normal function of a church. Mary for Madison.

Shouldn't we be taking care of our people or at least trying to help them? Wouldn't we want help in time of need?

This is what a (true) church should be "for," not against.

That's EXACTLY what churches are for. Their traditional role of helping the needy is why they don't pay taxes. Churches that don't help the needy or pay taxes are the real problem.

Another divisive question by this paper. People need help. End of story.

Conway Sun, again, you have nothing else to Tele-Talk about? Gross.

You people are friggin’ unbelievable.

This has been all over the internet for a while, how did they not know?

Who comes up with these stupid questions?

I wonder how the Jackson residents will react when they expand it up to Jackson.

Absolutely a normal function.

Of course it is. Welfare for the people.

Shame on you Conway Sun.

Not hardly.

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