moves

Jason Lee Middle School where the UCG meets... for now....
Jason Lee Middle School where the UCG used to meet….

The United Church of God an International Association congregation has moved from Jason Lee Middle School to the Fircrest Prebyterian Church.

Fircrest Presbyterian Church
Fircrest Presbyterian Church — has no air conditioning

The Jason Lee Middle School did not provide the UCG with a kitchen or cafeteria and other amenities. The Fircrest Presbyterian Church is in a relatively quiet neighborhood, away from traffic and other distractions. The Fircrest Presbyterian Church has a nice kitchen available and other amenities. Unfortunately, there is no air conditioning, which makes the dog days of summer intolerable to people sensitive to the heat. The UCG is thinking of investing in fans.

Now it turns out that the Jason Lee Middle School is not to far away from the location of the Church of God Seventh Day building and facilities, as it was some decades back. It has not been there for a long time because the building was sold and a hospital was built on the site. The local CoG7D did get an adequate sum of money for the building and property and they put the money in a bank account, looking to build anew. The church moved services to Gig Harbor where they rented a church facility for Sabbath Services and activities. Around 80 people a week met for the song services accompanied by piano, guitars and drums. Somewhere along the line, a new young minister came and took over from the old guard. Around this time, for some reason, Gig Harbor property was purchased for new facilities in the woods. Unfortunately, the I16 Freeway construction just happened to turn their property into a wetland, making any construction quite problematic to say the least.

The new minister had an agenda and made it clear that his intention was to have a ‘community outreach’ to encompass other church denominations and people. There was money left in the property fund, so he convinced the board to pay for his further education at Fuller Theological Seminary with the caveat that he would never follow the same path that Joseph Tkach, Junior followed after he had a stint with the Fuller Theological Seminary. This charismatic minister was relatively young and appealed to the young married couples with children that he would be their minister to lead them into the future. Surreptitiously, he made it clear that he had no use for the older members. He went to the board and got them to give him a significant increase in salary at a time when the older members began leaving — the ones who actually tithed. This precipitated a crisis and soon the young minister was sapping the building fund for his salary. Meanwhile, he was skipping payments to the CoG7D and changing some of the doctrines. Along the way, he branded the church as Wellspring Fellowship, so it had a double branding for awhile. He kicked out the minister who was loyal to the CoG7D and declared to the Regional Administrator that the minister he had kicked out was disfellowshipped, which would have worked if it weren’t for the fact that he severed association with the Church of God Seventh Day at the same time.

Somehow, Wellspring Fellowship moved from the complex they were renting to the Harbor Life Church:

Harbor Life Church in Gig Harbor
Harbor Life Church in Gig Harbor, hosting Wellspring Fellowship

Meanwhile, the minister he kicked out managed to persuade the Regional Conference that he shouldn’t be disfellowshipped and rented the Westgate Baptist Church for weekly Sabbath Services:

Westgate Baptist Church
Westgate Baptist Church

The Wellspring Fellowship chewed through the building fund in short order and refused to give up such things as sound equipment which technically belonged to the CoG7D. The irony here is that Wellspring Fellowship attendance was down at least 60% from the days of the CoG7D, so when it came time to pay property taxes on the property in Gig Harbor, Wellspring Fellowship couldn’t spring for the money. The CoG7D at the Westgate Baptist Church eventually paid for a couple of years on the property, hoping that the property could be returned to the CoG7D. The Denver Headquarters did declare all of their property as a corporate sole possession so such hijacking of property could not happen in the future, as a result of this experience.

Meanwhile, the Westgate Baptist Church congregation who owned the building being rented by the local CoG7, was paying for insurance to protect the property at a $2 million level. It also had a Christian Congregation of Eastern European extract paying rent for the facilities for their meetings. The Westgate Baptist Church congregation had been shrinking for any number of years and in 2016 there were only 8 members of the congregation left including the pastor. It was at this point that the Westgate Baptists decided on selling the building and property to a responsible Christian Church for around $40,000. The reason for the ridiculously low price was that Westgate was an independent Baptist congregation, not associated with any larger Baptist Conference — and the remaining members could not take any personal profit from the sale.

There is one more Church involved in this moves scenario. It turns out that there was another congregation meeting in a school near Jason Lee Middle School, where United used to meet. The Journey Community Church has been renting the Mason Middle School for services:

Mason Middle School
Mason Middle School where the Journey Community Church meets on Sundays

The Journey Community Church also rents offices for church business. It is inconvenient to rent a school property for church services and it is expensive to rent property for church offices. That all ends in September when the Journey Community Church moves everything to the former Westgate Baptist Church property, which they have purchased. They will consolidate everything into one place.

Journey Community Church lives up to its name. It is a community oriented church. During the school year, it provides 140 lunches for poor students who have insufficient food at home. You can check out their vision at their website. The church is associated with Christian and Missionary Alliance which has an association with 20,000 Christian churches world wide. The church participates in a youth church camp in August. October 6th through 17th, 2016, members will participate in the Cambodia Mission Trip.

The Journey Community Church is enthusiastic about their move and are busy remodeling. When they started, they had $50,000 for the remodel project and the Christian and Missionary Alliance is providing additional matching funds, so they have a total of $150,000 to work with. The kitchen size is being doubled. The downstairs will be finished. There will be any number of improvements and changes made before they move in. There is a weekly work party that the members can attend. The Journey Church will be occupying their new facility in September 2016.

The Armstrongists live in such a limited view of the world with blinders on. They totally ignore the larger Christian community, which causes them to underestimate those outside their cult.

The reality is that there is a much larger world out there — one which may be only blocks away from the Armstrongists cloistered world and narrow minded thinking.