Much of the late pastor Harry Lehotsky's earthly legacy — including the Ellice Cafe and about half the 100 low-income housing units his New Life Ministries owns — is being sold.
Bill Ehlers, a board member with the inner-city church, said Lehotsky’s widow, Virginia, moved the motion at the church’s annual meeting.
"It was a hard decision." Ehlers said. "We just found the model didn’t work, that’s the bottom line."
After the 49-year-old inner-city clergyman died in 2006, donations dried up, Ehlers said.
Despite owning the rental properties outright, the church — which has about 30 members — didn’t have enough donations coming in to run the whole operation in the safe, affordable way Lehotskys had wanted.
Ehlers said New Life Ministries will concentrate on the remainder of the remaining properties: two rental buildings close to the church at 514 Maryland.
They hope to sell the cafe and the rest of the units to an organization that shares Lehotsky’s original vision, but has more means.