Proposed Rectory Sparks Controversy In Sunset Hills

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SUNSET HILLS, MO (KTVI)-- Controversy is brewing over a proposed rectory in Sunset Hills.

Gateway House of Prayer wants to turn a vacant fire house into a rectory.

However, residents have doubts about the project because of the church's outreach ministries which include helping the homeless.

Some fear, the worse will happen if the church gets its way and are circulating petitions to fight the project.

Neil Moynihan doesn`t want Gateway House of Prayer to turn the vacant fire house in his Sunset Hills neighborhood into housing for the church.

Moynihan recalls how angrily south city residents responded when Reverend Larry Rice tried to erect a tent for the homeless at Interstate 44 and Vandeventer last summer.

Church leaders insist that won`t be the case and made their intentions for the fire house, which is across the street from their church perfectly clear.

Church leaders say a rectory is needed because the church plans to offer prayer services 24-7. They admit they are surprised by the resistance from residents, but understand their concerns.

Residents are circulating a petition in an effort to stop the project.

Sunset Hills board of aldermen is scheduled to vote on the rectory proposal next Tuesday.

Church leaders say they're confident it will be approved if not they say they'll consider hiring an attorney.