NORTH ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - Cynthia Broadway was at the emergency room getting treatment for her arm when she received a shocking call. She discovered that the church where she worshiped and owned a childcare center had been evicted. "I don't understand why I wasn't notified. I don't know where I'm going. I don't know what's going to happen with my children," Broadway sighed.
Families with children looked on in disbelief as Emmanuel Watertower Christian Ministries was evicted. St. Louis sheriff's deputies cleared out the church, stacking dozens of chairs, banners, and couches on the front lawn. "I think it's a shame. Emmanuel has helped so many people," said Victoria Harris.
The church is known for not only providing childcare services, but for helping more than 100 homeless people, including 40 who lived there. Victoria Harris lived there four months. She gathered her belongings quickly without warning. "I didn't know at all. I'm really amazed it's happening like this."
The church is owned by investors in Dallas, Texas. Spokesperson, Michael Gibson says the church owes more than $50,000 in back rent. "We have an eviction from the courts in St. Louis. They hadn't paid rent for about a year."
Pastor Tyrone Roberson took over the church after his father died last year. Roberson says the ministry has been struggling financially for years. He didn't tell anyone about the problems because he was hoping and praying things would work out.
"All I was doing was trusting and knowing God. I'm your servant. I'm expecting you to do something to help your people. I feel bad and if I could do it again I would do it differently. But I just felt like something was going to happen and I didn't think this day would come. I thought something would work out," said Pastor Tyrone Roberson
The St. Louis Crisis Nursery is providing childcare and hotels to families in need. The church is also working to provide services and find a new location.