MIDLOTHIAN – The Midlothian City Council opened with public comments from two men who were not from Midlothian, but were from a group called No Hate in Texas/No Hate in Hurst speaking out against a church called Stedfast Baptist Church. According to the No Hate Facebook group they are “the group formerly known as “No Hate in Hurst.” Known for evicting Stedfast Baptist Church.”
According to the speaker, the church is said to be a registered Hate Group. The speaker, George Jones, said the church has moved from city to city over the years and services are held in hotel conference rooms. In January protesters demonstrated outside the DoubleTree in Arlington after discovering the church was holding services there. However, it was noted the church has now appeared to have gone underground.
The men spoke to the Midlothian City Council because they said it is rumored Stedfast Baptist Church is attempting to purchase a location, possibly in Midlothian.
“We’ve heard a rumor that, and I can’t confirm it yet,” the first man during public comments George Jones said, “that the church is looking at or have already purchased property in Midlothian.”
He said that the group No Hate in Texas is very vocal against hate groups such as Stedfast Baptist Church and that unless the city wants groups like his, with some members very vocal, showing up in Midlothian and “yelling in your town, sometimes we’ve been arrested… We’re not afraid to make some noise” he suggests groups like this not be allowed in Midlothian.
The second gentleman who spoke, Dylan Peacock referred to Steadfast as a “cult” , said he hoped the city could put something in their charter to keep hate groups out or “it is going to take a long time to get the stain out from your city.”
In a January 2023 article from KERA News, they quote Stedfast Pastor Jonathan Shelley from a YouTube video stating, ““Well, the reality is nobody really wants to lease to us, so it makes it very difficult.”
Council did not comment since council members are not allowed to speak on subjects addressed during public comment.
All consent agenda items passed unanimously 6 – 0 with Midlothian Councilmember Place 2 Walter Darrach not at the meeting. An item to consider and act upon a resolution authorizing a grant in the amount of $140,000.00 to be awarded by the Midlothian Community Development Corporation (MCDC or 4B) to Manna House for event costs and the purchase of pre-packaged school supplies for the Back to School Bash was removed from the consent agenda and voted on separately. Mayor Pro Tem Justin Coffman and Place 3 Anna Hammonds recused themselves from voting on this agenda item. It passed 4 -0.
A public hearing approving a Specific Use Permit (SUP) for a “secondary dwelling” zoned Agricultural (A) District passed 6 – 0. The property is located on ±2.8970 acres at the northwest corner of S. Walnut Grove Road and Clancey Lane.
Regular agenda items passed unanimously including a resolution to authorize a grant in the amount of $580,000 awarded by the Midlothian Community Development Corporation (MCDC or Type B) to the City of Midlothian Parks Department to fund the Midlothian/Waxahachie Regional Trail.
It also passed to authorize the City Manager to execute the Advance Funding Agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for state and federal grant funds for Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Project Off-System in the amount of $2,454,426 to engineer and construct Segments 2 & 3 of the Midlothian/Waxahachie Regional Trail (Limestone Trail).
It was noted this regional trail will be a place for residents to bike and run along portions of the creek that total over nine miles when all the segments are complete.
Limestone Trail, which has been long awaited in the city, has been in discussion for years in both the City of Midlothian and the North-Central Council of Governments.
A Strategic Plan was approved for a planning document for the City of Midlothian to include personnel and capital equipment for the General Fund, Utility Fund, Ellis County Radio Fund, Conference Center and Senior Citizen Center.
City Council also discussed and clarified ongoing Board Requirements and Rules from the recently adopted Policy on Governance Process – requiring all board members to attend Midlothian University. While there was no vote involving the discussion, it was determined board members are required to attend at least half of the Midlothian University classes in person, while the remainder can be watched online.