Bishop Says Race Is Part Of Homeowners' Battle Against Korean Church

December 7, 2000

Source: Chicago Sun-Times

On December 7, 2000, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that "recalling this summer's mosque controversy in Palos Heights, a United Methodist bishop said ethnic bias is partly behind Long Grove residents' fight against a Korean church's plan to move into their community. Traffic and property values are the big reasons that residents oppose the Good Shepherd Church's plan, Bishop C. Joseph Sprague said Wednesday. At the same time, 'I have to wonder if the fact that this is a Korean congregation has anything to do with the kind of reaction they're having,' he said. 'I don't think it's at the center of this, but both the fact that these are Korean Americans and this is religion is part of it.'...Marcia Marshall, who heads the Long Grove Homeowners Coalition, which is opposing the plans, said Wednesday that Sprague's remarks were insulting...The congregation wants to relocate from Park Ridge to a parcel that is next to Long Grove, a northwest suburb. The congregation wants the property to be annexed into Long Grove, but Marshall and residents from six subdivisions have retained a lawyer to ask the village to reject those plans. Marshall downplayed comparisons to the Palos Heights controversy, in which a Muslim group alleged that discrimination was behind village leaders not approving zoning for a mosque. That issue is in federal court. Besides Long Grove, the church has filed zoning plans with Lake County officials as a contingency. Those plans are being reviewed by county officials, said Lake County board member Pamela O. Newton, who represents the Long Grove area. Newton said she believes residents will welcome the church if it scales back its plans. The church averages only 180 worshippers each Sunday, but the plans before the village and county are designed with more than 1,000 people in mind. Long Grove's plan commission will conduct a second pubic hearing Jan. 16. The county zoning commission has not set a hearing date."