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Village United Methodist Church: “Storm shelter no longer in service”

OKLAHOMA CITY – Past emergencies call for a tough decision for a Village Church.

The Village United Methodist Church is often used by hundreds as a storm shelter during severe weather. Pastor Rick Marion said it’s turned into a big problem.

“Sometimes we’ll have up to 900 people crowding in here when a storm comes in with their pets and ice chests and personal belongings.”

Marion said the rush to the safe haven is a dangerous situation in itself.

“It’s just a massive amount of people and panicked people.”

The Village City Manager Bruce Stone agrees.  “When the parking lot is full they jump the curb they park everywhere. This last storm this last spring people parked in the road and left their car in the middle of Britton road.”

So the church has decided it will no longer open its doors as a storm shelter.

The Village said the church talked to them about providing security so they could offer shelter, but Stone said it’s just not possible.

“The problem we get into there is that it’s a private facility and for the city to pay officers off duty. To come in and man the facility that would be an unlawful use of tax dollars.”

It’s a precarious situation – with no one feeling worse than Pastor Marion.

“I’m sorry that we can’t continue to do this because we are here to serve this community.”