SHREVEPORT, La. (Highland Center Ministries) – Highland Center Ministries will host a community forum on Thursday, July 25, 5:00 pm in the Chapel at the Highland Center, which is located at 520 Olive Street in Shreveport. The purpose of the forum is to allow people in Highland and the larger community to share what the Highland Center means to them and how the programs in the building have impacted them and to ask questions about the future of the building, for Highland Center Ministries, and for the other nonprofits operating in the Highland Center.
Here is the letter to the community from leaders of Highland Center Ministries:
There is no neighborhood in Shreveport like Highland. It is the most racially and socio-economically diverse and culturally rich neighborhood. It is filled with historic architecture, vital churches, and an eclectic spirit. For the past seven years, a variety of churches in our city have partnered together to support Highland Center Ministries, seeking to serve and get to know our neighbors in the Highland community, and seeking to offer a hand-up, not a handout, so that all who live here may flourish and use their gifts.
Housed at the Highland Center at 520 Olive Street, we come together each Thursday for the Highland Blessing Dinner, a free meal provided by food from the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana and prepared and shared family style for as many as 140 guests. Our churches have also partnered together through Highland Center Ministries to offer a clothes closet, financial services, free tax preparation, and a Christmas Shoppe that provides Christmas gifts at affordable prices for families.
Maintaining and keeping up the Highland Center building has been a challenge, but several years ago an agreement was reached with Denny Duron, Pastor of Shreveport Community Church and President of Winner’s Circle International, to take ownership of the building for free and to allow Highland Center ministries and other ministries and counseling services to rent space and provide services to the community in that facility. Late this spring, with no explanation or revealed plans for the facility, Highland Center ministries and all other occupants were given notice that they had until October 2019 to leave the building. No new plans for the facility have been shared. No requests for extensions have been granted.
Area churches working together for the good of the Highland community are scrambling, not knowing what is going to happen to the Highland Center. We are concerned that a vital center in the heart of Highland will be left vacant for no good reason. We are concerned that common ground and common ministry between Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Unitarians, and others, will be hurt and damaged for no good reason. We are concerned for the people we reach and serve who live and work in Highland.
Our churches are in Highland. Our ministries are in Highland. And we plan for Highland Center Ministries to remain in Highland after October and beyond. We also are concerned about the future of the Highland Center facility and what will become of that building. That is a concern for the neighbors of Highland, but also for the entire community.
Chris Currie, Pastor/Head of Staff, First Presbyterian Church
John Henson, Pastor, Church for the Highlands