Beginning next year, the Manna Soup Kitchen board of directors will review and possibly tweak a number of policies, including an informal policy that prohibits proselytizing.
"We want to be open to all groups, Christian, non-Christians, everybody," said Al Spungen, president of the soup kitchen. "And I think the board is looking at that - how to be more open."
A stricter policy could limit groups such as the nondenominational Beloved Community Church from conducting services at the soup kitchen, 1100 Avenida del Sol, he said.
Members of the Beloved Community Church have volunteered for years to cook meals on Sundays at the soup kitchen. If they wish, clients can attend an informal service led by Jim Sanderson, the church's pastor.
In early December, the soup kitchen closed on Sundays to save money, forcing the Beloved Community Church to hand out meals in the parking lot.
In a phone interview Wednesday, Sanderson said he has been left in the dark about what possible changes might be forthcoming regarding his ability to serve food and hold services at Manna.
Sanderson said he has always been allowed to hold an informal service at Manna, but it is just recently that it has become an issue.
A client told Sanderson that Manna wanted him off the property, he said. About two weeks ago, a security guard for Manna came out from the back of the building and yelled at Sanderson and his group, saying he had no right to be there, Sanderson said.
He said it is Manna's mission to feed the hungry, and right now that is not occurring on Sundays.
"We are committed to being in the soup kitchen parking lot until the soup kitchen can open its doors on Sunday," Sanderson said. "We're simply doing what we've always been doing, which is feeding people on Sunday when no one else is doing it."
Caroline Kinser, who becomes chairwoman of Manna's board of directors this month, said she has no problem with Sanderson serving food at Manna.
But the board will review a number of policies in an effort to ensure everyone feels welcome and not excluded for religious reasons. Right now, there is a sign on the door that says "no proselytizing."
She recognized a long history of involvement by religious groups and wants that support to continue.
But the soup kitchen routinely applies for grants, and most foundations and the government look for a no-proselytizing policy before giving, she said.
"We're in the business of helping those in need, and Jim feeding (clients) on Sunday seems to fit that," Kinser said.