Pastor’s letter to the City Council about the Boley housing project next to the church

Dear Mayor and City Council,

This letter is in support of the Boley Centers housing project which is being planned for the property adjacent to Lakewood United Church of Christ at 2601 54th Avenue South in St. Petersburg.  I am the pastor of the church and we want you to know that the church is in full support of the Boley initiative.  The Boley staff reached out to our church and met with me and several leaders of the church including church members who live in Lakewood Estates.  The project was explained to us.  We were given the opportunity to ask questions and get clarification.  In sum, the church strongly endorses this project.  Frankly, we have to.  We are a church and the gospel of Jesus Christ compels us to show support and care for “the least of these.”  The Boley project will be ministering to the needs of the least of these.  As a church we support this effort because it reflects the values of the gospel.

Our position is based on the teachings and sacred texts of our religion.  Of course, we do not expect you, as a City Council, to follow those dictates.  Your commitment is to live up to the values and expectations that have been set for the City.  In this regard, I remind you of two recent commitments made by the City.

The first is the Proclamation declaring St. Petersburg a City of Compassion signed and sealed on Sept. 15, 2018.  In this Proclamation,  it is stated:

“Whereas the City strives to be a place where the sun shines for all, and works to protect and promote the rights of LGBT and disenfranchised communities, the homeless, the elderly, the youth, and the pet and animal residents of the City;”  

The population that will be housed at the Boley complex next to the church includes the disenfranchised community (special needs), the homeless, and, likely, the elderly.  This project will directly serve to protect and promote the rights of these City residents to have a safe place to live.  

The second commitment made by the City that I would like to cite was made on January 10, 2019.  It is the Proclamation declaring St. Petersburg a City of Peace:

“Whereas, the community leaders of St. Petersburg are committed to establishing peace in the region to promote economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of the people of our region.”  

The Boley project will definitely improve the quality of life of the special needs population and the homeless population, both segments of “the people of our region.”

We do not expect the City Council to support the Boley initiative based on our religion values but we do expect the City Council to support the Boley project based on the values and commitments made in these proclamations and other statements which establish the aspirations for life in St. Petersburg.    

Thank you so much for your consideration of this matter.  Please let us know how we can be helpful in supporting the Boley project.  

We are grateful for your service to the community and your dedication to our City where the sun shines on all.  


Kim P. Wells

Lakewood United Church of Christ, pastor

Author: Rev. Wells

Pastor of Lakewood United Church of Christ since 1991. Graduate of Wellesley College and Union Theological Seminary of New York.

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