Indiana Methodist offices to stay at site developed in part by gambling money

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2001

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- Despite concerns, members of the United Methodist Church have voted to proceed with plans to build church offices at a new development paid for in part with gambling money.

Southern Indiana Methodist delegates approved the project during an annual conference at which they pledged money for a gambling ministry and outreach.

The new office, which will serve more than 700 congregations in southern Indiana, will be the first tenant at Bloomington's Gateway Park, paid for in part from a state fund supported by Hoosier Lottery profits and riverboat casino taxes.

Gateway Park's connection to gambling proceeds upset some members of the denomination, which has long campaigned against legalized gambling, saying it causes addictions, bankruptcies, domestic violence and other social ills.

''We need to think about whose agenda we're on, people's or God's,'' said delegate Cyndi Alte, who made the unsuccessful motion in favor of a different site.

The United Methodist Church is the largest Protestant denomination in Indiana, with some 240,000 members in two conferences.

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