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N.M. SHELTER REJECTS LDS OFFER OF HELP

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The executive director of an evangelical Christian homeless shelter has rejected an offer from an LDS outreach group to help serve meals to residents of the rescue mission.

In explaining the decision he made last week, Mark Fairchild of the Albuquerque Rescue Mission cited "a major doctrinal gulf" between Mormonism and the vein of Christianity he advocates."For us to approve someone coming in who holds views we know to be the opposite of the true Gospel would be wrong, and I've chosen to draw the line," Fairchild said.

The leader of the LDS group, Ron Neil, said he was only trying to help and didn't know about Fairchild's attitude when he made the offer. He said he had visited the mission and found it to be a "very friendly, wholesome, clean environment."

Neil said he arranged through the rescue mission's part-time volunteer coordinator for the Mormon group's 27 members to help prepare and serve five meals this month to the homeless. Then, Neil said he received a telephone call last Friday from Fairchild.

"The long and short of it is that he told me our belief systems . . . our understandings of Jesus Christ and the scriptures . . . were so different that we couldn't come," Neil said.

The rescue mission has operated since 1954. It is billed as an interdenominational, nonprofit ministry. The mission serves well over 100 meals each night - about 60,000 a year.