Our church, Grace United Church of Christ, is located directly opposite the proposed new Catholic Charities site on 3rd Avenue. We have been a part of this neighborhood for 120+ years and have witnessed it’s “transition” several times. Indeed, the faces of our congregation have changed along with the neighborhood.
We happily welcome Catholic Charities as our new neighbor. Grace UCC is not a social service agency, yet we have tried to meet some of the many needs in our neighborhood. Because our administrative and financial resources are limited, we have always thought that the presence of a true social service agency in this part of Wausau would be a true blessing. We anticipate the arrival of Catholic Charities with rejoicing and with hopeful anticipation.
We share some of the concerns that have been expressed, but we welcome the use of our property by those waiting to enter the warming center. Many clients of Catholic Charities are people already in this neighborhood. These folks come to us looking for many things that we cannot provide and may amble past the church frequently, often pausing to use our picnic tables and benches. This has not caused any serious problems. Additionally, we have recently learned that there have been no problems for the neighbors in the current location of the warming center, surrounded by more businesses than those that exist on 3rd Avenue.
Catholic Charities has reached out to Grace UCC and other neighbors in the area beyond what they are required to do. They have assured us that they will monitor the situation and make changes in their schedules and procedures as necessary, working with neighbors to address any concerns. Catholic Charities has already held two open houses and we are confident there will be more opportunities for questions and answers as this move progresses.
Grace UCC is blessed to have ALL of our neighbors and willingly cooperate with all of our neighbors in any way we can. We believe that Catholic Charities will be a good neighbor. Our shared beliefs and the faith we confess demands nothing less.
Rev. Wayne C. Drueck
Pastor Julie Goranson