Christ Church Cathedral launched another round of heavy artillery in its ongoing battle with disgruntled neighbor Harry C. Arthur on Saturday afternoon, in the form of carrying out as usual its annual holiday luncheon for the homeless and otherwise needy.
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Arthur recently sued the church in an effort to close down its weekend homeless shelter, called the Beacon, claiming it has destroyed the value of his property and driven off clients of his personal injury law firm. The church responded by hiring attorneys and a public relations firm -- which fired off a press release for the event and even took the unusual step of making homeless guests available to the media.
Things had calmed down by 1 p.m., though the increase in guests meant late-comers had to settle for kids' meals. Event chair Gay Gulledge estimated about 1,000 people had been served, up from 850 last year. Backpacks full of supplies were also doled out while they lasted.
Guests seemed aware of the suit but not quite sure what to make of it.
"If the Beacon closes, it's gonna be ... wow," said James McLendon, an occasional client, between bites of hot dog and mac-and-cheese. "A lot of these people, this is, like, a life-line for them."