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Holy rollers! Proposed church-adjacent bus stop a sin, parishioners say

Thumbs down for a bus stop: Congregation members Fitzhubert Naberson and Felix Deleon are upset that the city wants to put a new select bus service stop right in front of Mamre Seventh-day Adventist Church on Utica Avenue.
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

This church’s doors are always open — just not for a new bus stop.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority must repent and put the brakes on a plan to put a bus stop outside of a Utica Avenue church, parishioners are demanding. The authority wants to create a B46 Select Bus Service stop in front of the Mamre Seventh-day Adventist Church at the corner of Avenue H. But the constant come-and-go of straphangers would make it tough for worshipers to keep focused, the flock’s leader said.

“Every time a bus comes in, people standing at the bus stop, that kinds of distracts your service,” said pastor Kenneth Jones. “If you’re going to worship God, you need to give him the respect he deserves.”

Officials picked the spot because it’s close to the existing stop and can accommodate the service’s sidewalk ticket kiosks, transit officials said.

Plans are still in the works but transportation honchos believe “the corner in front of the church is the best location for the SBS bus stop for both the safety and convenience of our customers,” according to an authority statement.

But the idea is a sin, because it would hamper church, funeral, and wedding services and even endanger the most vulnerable of the church’s 600 congregants, Jones said.

“When we have weddings — you can’t have the limo. We have funerals. And we have a lot of children. So a bus stop right in front, you never know what could happen,” said pastor Kenneth Jones.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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