For years, the Moss Bradley Residential Association has called Westminster Presbyterian Church its “home.” It has been a long-standing relationship with a “neighbor” who has been an anchor along Moss Avenue and a source of spiritual wellness for many of our neighbors. Their mission of serving God and community and reaching out to those in need, is well known – something truly admirable.
However, the past few years have been marked by a strained relationship between the church and MBRA, culminating in a series of events, interactions and communications over the past few months that has created a very serious chasm between the two organizations. The issue that tipped the scales on this relationship centered on the proposal presented in February regarding a possible wrap-around center for Peoria Public Schools to be located at Westminster.
I am not going to use this space to convey all the details on what has transpired over the past few months as we, as a membership, have not had an opportunity to discuss the proposal, its ramifications and everything revolving around it. A newsletter is not the proper format to convey this information. This conversation is best suited for a membership meeting – in fact, our April membership meeting. My goal is to have an open discussion about what has transpired recently and over the past few years. Then, maybe what follows in the message, will become clear.
The relationship between Westminster and MBRA has reached a point of strain that motivates us to change…change where we hold our membership meetings. Given what has been communicated to us from Westminster and what we as a board have discussed about those communications, it would be very hypocritical of us to continue to use the Westminster Fellowship Hall for our meetings.
Our April meeting will be held at the Pettengill-Morron House on Moss Avenue. Colleen Johnson, PHS Executive Director and one of our neighbors, has graciously offered PM as a place to meet. However, the house is not large enough to accommodate us for our Annual Meeting and Pot Luck Dinner. Plans are being made for an alternate location which should be finalized soon.
We will not close the door on returning to Westminster. Much like a marriage that is in trouble, sometimes it’s best to separate and distance oneself for a period of time. Both Pastor Clark-Jones and I are open to talking in the future – let some time pass and emotions settle before we do so.
I strongly encourage you to attend the April meeting for this discussion, so we are all clear on what has transpired and why we are making the decisions we have. To enhance this point, I quote from the Open Letter Rod Lorenz submitted to us in March. “We cannot take for granted that the positive trajectory seen in Moss Bradley over the past 15 -20 years will continue automatically. Residents must remain involved for this neighborhood to thrive and keeping themselves and their neighbors informed about proposals such as this one is an important first step. Attending MBRA meetings is one way to do that.”