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Author Topic: What Can We Do About Churches Bought By Other Sects?  (Read 1771 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 01, 2013, 04:11:09 PM »

Just saw from another forum a picture of a former Greek Orthodox church bought by a Filipino sect, the INC (Iglesia ni Cristo), which--well, if you know anything about that group, would be billed as some as a cult. It is troubling that such a group would acquire that church. What can be done? Like, can't other jurisdictions buy it and use it, just to prevent its desecration?
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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2013, 04:37:12 PM »

I assume there's some sort of ritual to de-sacralize the church before its ownership is transferred (like in the movie "Alice's Restaurant", one of my all-time guilty pleasures!) in Orthodoxy as well as in Catholicism?

Let's face it, man-made structures are going to be bought and sold from time to time; unless the Filipino sect is using the Orthodox nature of the building to trick people into thinking it's really an Orthodox church, why lose sleep over it?
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« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2013, 06:05:22 PM »

I assume there's some sort of ritual to de-sacralize the church before its ownership is transferred (like in the movie "Alice's Restaurant", one of my all-time guilty pleasures!) in Orthodoxy as well as in Catholicism?

Let's face it, man-made structures are going to be bought and sold from time to time; unless the Filipino sect is using the Orthodox nature of the building to trick people into thinking it's really an Orthodox church, why lose sleep over it?

Is that like de-blessing or un-consecrating?
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« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2013, 08:38:10 PM »

Let's face it, man-made structures are going to be bought and sold from time to time; unless the Filipino sect is using the Orthodox nature of the building to trick people into thinking it's really an Orthodox church, why lose sleep over it?

Taking over buildings, especially places of worship, have much meaning. They're not simply property in a sense. For instance, Christians took over pagan temples when paganism fell in Rome--it had much symbolic meaning in that it means the triumph of Christianity over paganism. Similarly the loss of Hagia Sophia to Islam showed to Muslims the triumph of Islam over Christianity--something still painful for most Orthodox. Losing a church to a sect has much the same effect, whether by force or sale, unless we are so carefree with our churches that we simply give it away, so to speak, to every group that has money out there.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2013, 09:00:57 PM by Milliardo » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2013, 08:55:11 PM »

Just saw from another forum a picture of a former Greek Orthodox church bought by a Filipino sect, the INC (Iglesia ni Cristo), which--well, if you know anything about that group, would be billed as some as a cult. It is troubling that such a group would acquire that church. What can be done? Like, can't other jurisdictions buy it and use it, just to prevent its desecration?
My first worry would be, what happened to the former Greek Orthodox congregation?
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« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2013, 09:00:29 PM »

My first worry would be, what happened to the former Greek Orthodox congregation?

Well, I don't really know. Perhaps they had a new church, or perhaps a number of them moved to other places to having a church be unsustainable.
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« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2013, 09:16:43 PM »

Did this occur in the United States or elsewhere?   Huh
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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2013, 10:09:44 PM »

Building are always going to be bought and traded whether we like it or not. Even if we respectfully demolish the building that was once an Orthodox Church, people will still buy and sell the land that it was built on and erect a new building. All we can do I think is pray that the new owners will not use it for heresy and will come to know Christ through the Church.
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« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2013, 01:35:59 AM »

I hope this is not in the Philippines.  The INC do boast about such "accomplishments".  I remember I chanced about a website of one of their temples in the midwest USA.  It was a former RC parish, Our Lady of Lourdes I think.  But they boasted about the necessity of the Roman Catholic Church to sell their parishes because of dwindling numbers and that they reappropriated the building from a sacrilegious, paganistic faith to the "true" faith. which is their Church that is growing in numbers not only in the Philippines but also outside the Philippines.  One of their propaganda of claiming to be the true faith is the presence of at least one temple in every country in the world.  You know, make disciples of all nations.

For those that don't know, the INC is a poor Filipino copycat of the LDS.  Their Joseph Smith is Erano Manalo, a born and raised Roman Catholic who bounced from one religion to another before claiming to receive a vision while locked in his room for 3 days.  He claims to be the ravenous bird proclaimed by Isaiah, that he is the last "sugo" (Filipino for sage) and that he is an incarnated angel, a messenger of God who has come to restore the apostatized Church that disappeared after the death of the last Apostle (they don't say who, I doubt they know which Apostle died last).  Like the LDS and all these other Restorationists, they are Arians.  Jesus Christ is merely human whom God favored so much that he called him His Son by adoption.  Unlike Smith, Manalo never taught divinization and just says that while Jesus is only human, God himself wants us to worship Christ, so it is okay to do so.  His religion is fiercly anti-Catholic, but wouldn't hesitate to attack other Christian faiths as well.
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« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2013, 01:57:26 AM »

Rather it be burnt to the ground than be defamed by an Arian sect.
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« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2013, 04:08:46 AM »

My father converted to this dangerous and evil cult after marrying a Filipino who is already in it about a year and a half ago. I've seen all the promotional/evangelistic materials they've left at his house (DVDs, pamphlets, their magazine, etc.), and they are absolutely insane. I would not hesitate to bulldoze the church building myself rather than let them spread their poison from it.
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« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2013, 04:21:00 AM »

My father converted to this dangerous and evil cult after marrying a Filipino who is already in it about a year and a half ago. I've seen all the promotional/evangelistic materials they've left at his house (DVDs, pamphlets, their magazine, etc.), and they are absolutely insane. I would not hesitate to bulldoze the church building myself rather than let them spread their poison from it.

I must say, I am sorry to hear that.  This feels like something we have discussed in the past, or maybe its just a sad tale that has become all too common.
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« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2013, 04:32:06 AM »

We probably have. I've brought it up here before (and elsewhere); it bothers me that much. But thank you for your concern.
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« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2013, 07:51:38 AM »

I assume there's some sort of ritual to de-sacralize the church before its ownership is transferred (like in the movie "Alice's Restaurant", one of my all-time guilty pleasures!) in Orthodoxy as well as in Catholicism

As far as I know, when a church is 'decommissioned', any holy relics are taken out of the altar table and any other consecrated items removed (which is a matter of course if the congregation has moved).
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« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2013, 07:54:11 AM »

My father converted to this dangerous and evil cult after marrying a Filipino who is already in it about a year and a half ago. I've seen all the promotional/evangelistic materials they've left at his house (DVDs, pamphlets, their magazine, etc.), and they are absolutely insane. I would not hesitate to bulldoze the church building myself rather than let them spread their poison from it.

I heard of it before, I feel sorry for you, I really do. But perhaps good may come of this and he may see the light of Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2013, 01:39:43 PM »

My father converted to this dangerous and evil cult after marrying a Filipino who is already in it about a year and a half ago. I've seen all the promotional/evangelistic materials they've left at his house (DVDs, pamphlets, their magazine, etc.), and they are absolutely insane. I would not hesitate to bulldoze the church building myself rather than let them spread their poison from it.

I heard of it before, I feel sorry for you, I really do. But perhaps good may come of this and he may see the light of Orthodoxy.

Let us pray hard for that.  Emotional blackmail is part and parcel of the controling tactics of this group, one reason that is hard to leave them.  If your entire family is a part of the religion and you want to leave, they will threatten you and your entire family and get your entire family to force you to stay or shun you.  Its not easy to get out but with God anything is possible.
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« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2013, 02:35:18 PM »


Before we had funds to "build" a church, we purchased a ready built building....which had been a Jewish Synagogue.  It had the Star of David carved in stone over the front doors, etc.

We were there for a number of years, while building a new church.  When the new one was ready, the old one got sold to some Baptists.  A few years ago, they sold it to Muslims..  Sad

....and now it is no more.  Bulldozed....thankfully.
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« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2013, 03:51:55 PM »

there is a lovely coptic church in uk that used to be a pub!
 Smiley

i got to see it at several stages in the process of becoming a church.
once we got the (empty) iconostasis up, we all started crossing ourselves while going in, even before we had any services there!
it was very exciting, and it is still a beautiful church today.
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« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2013, 05:37:50 PM »

I wouldn't mind if the denomination that buys the place is Trinitarian.  At least its not a huge step down to what the church building was used for.  But neo-Arians?  I agree, rather to burn the building to the ground than hand it over to such groups.
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« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2013, 07:04:02 PM »

Maybe you could sneak back in with some icons and some incense, and repaint the walls a nice blue like the mantle of the Theotokos, and bring a bishop in there at night to redo the blessing; and then the next morning, put a sign out front, so that when people from the other church try to come in, you can say, "Sorry fellas, this one's ours, you must be mistaken."  Wink Grin
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« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2013, 07:12:17 PM »

I have to wonder about people who say they would "burn the building to the ground" rather than sell it to someone you disapprove of.

The OCA church where I sometimes attend Vespers used to be a Methodist church; how would you feel if you read a news story saying that the Methodists had decided to burn their church to the ground rather than sell it to the Orthodox?

And a Serbian Orthodox church where a friend got married is in an office park; what if they decided to "burn their church to the ground" rather than sell it to some other religious group? How many lives and other businesses would it be OK for them to endanger?

And less melodramatically, how does this sentiment not violate the Golden Rule?  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2013, 07:54:44 PM »

I have to wonder about people who say they would "burn the building to the ground" rather than sell it to someone you disapprove of.

The OCA church where I sometimes attend Vespers used to be a Methodist church; how would you feel if you read a news story saying that the Methodists had decided to burn their church to the ground rather than sell it to the Orthodox?

Then we'll go find another church building to buy.

And a Serbian Orthodox church where a friend got married is in an office park; what if they decided to "burn their church to the ground" rather than sell it to some other religious group? How many lives and other businesses would it be OK for them to endanger?

And less melodramatically, how does this sentiment not violate the Golden Rule?  Roll Eyes

It is not a literal burning to the ground, that would be illegal.  It is just sad that such a place used for worshiping God is profaned by the use of such groups.  Like I said, I'm fine if it is a Trinitarian Protestant group that buys the Church.  But neo-Arians?  How ironic would it be if a former St. Nicholas the Wonderworker Parish becomes an Iglesia ni Cristo temple?
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« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2013, 08:15:52 PM »

It is not a literal burning to the ground, that would be illegal.

Thanks for clarifying, because a literal burning to the ground is how I interpreted it.

But let's face it, some people do sometimes seem to express rather violent thoughts at the very idea that someone who disagrees with their religious or political viewpoints might actually (shudder) exist and share the same air. And sometimes they act on those thoughts.  Angry
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« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2013, 08:43:29 PM »

Thanks for clarifying, because a literal burning to the ground is how I interpreted it.

Given how we do our Liturgies, I'm actually surprised how we haven't burned all our churches to the ground  Grin

But let's face it, some people do sometimes seem to express rather violent thoughts at the very idea that someone who disagrees with their religious or political viewpoints might actually (shudder) exist and share the same air. And sometimes they act on those thoughts.  Angry

It is one thing to disagree on religious views, it is another when someone actually profanes something that was used for Holy purposes.  I remember back home in the Philippines this restaurant that served dinner to Pope John Paul II during his visit in 1995 has the utensils on display at the restaurant (they catered to where he was staying, he didn't actually go to the restaurant).  And the last time I saw this was in 2007, so they probably still would have it to this day.  For Catholics, would they agree if the restaurant just washed the dishes and utensils and put them back into use with all the others in their restaurant?  By Catholic definition, these are second class relics today, right?  I know usually what was used in such visits are put away by the host countries at least as memorabilia.

Or a better example would be the Sacred Vessels.  Would you sell them to some rich guy who wants a gold plated wine glass if the church doesn't need it anymore (either they have newer vessels or the also closed down)?
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« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2013, 09:02:22 PM »

It is one thing to disagree on religious views, it is another when someone actually profanes something that was used for Holy purposes.  I remember back home in the Philippines this restaurant that served dinner to Pope John Paul II during his visit in 1995 has the utensils on display at the restaurant (they catered to where he was staying, he didn't actually go to the restaurant).  And the last time I saw this was in 2007, so they probably still would have it to this day.  For Catholics, would they agree if the restaurant just washed the dishes and utensils and put them back into use with all the others in their restaurant?  By Catholic definition, these are second class relics today, right?  I know usually what was used in such visits are put away by the host countries at least as memorabilia.

You're assuming that the people who bought the FORMER Greek Orthodox Church have access to any of the sacred items. I am assuming that ALL those items have been removed and the church building has been desacralized. So this is not an issue.

Unless they're standing out front of the building saying, "Hey, this used to be a Greek Orthodox Church and we're profaning it!" I don't really get what the issue is. My all-time favorite downtown L.A. Catholic chapel is now a computer store, which seems pretty profane to me, but Cardinal Rog shut it down years ago and everything that could possibly be considered of a religious nature was removed (and presumably sold by Cardinal Rog to help fund his Rog Mahal  Grin ), so I just smile and wish them well.
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« Reply #25 on: January 02, 2013, 09:50:43 PM »

You're assuming that the people who bought the FORMER Greek Orthodox Church have access to any of the sacred items. I am assuming that ALL those items have been removed and the church building has been desacralized. So this is not an issue.

The church itself is sacred because it was used for Liturgy.  Aren't the very walls incensed as well?  Don't they vibrate to the hymns we sing?  Especially if this building (or another building) is built according to traditional Orthodox architecture (domes, etc.), the more does it have the physical marks of our faith.

Unless they're standing out front of the building saying, "Hey, this used to be a Greek Orthodox Church and we're profaning it!" I don't really get what the issue is. My all-time favorite downtown L.A. Catholic chapel is now a computer store, which seems pretty profane to me, but Cardinal Rog shut it down years ago and everything that could possibly be considered of a religious nature was removed (and presumably sold by Cardinal Rog to help fund his Rog Mahal  Grin ), so I just smile and wish them well.

The Iglesia ni Cristo is that way.  See here: http://chingmerano.blogspot.ca/2012/01/iglesia-ni-cristo-buys-catholic-church.html

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« Reply #26 on: January 02, 2013, 10:15:32 PM »

Did this occur in the United States or elsewhere?   Huh
I know of at least one case of this happening in the US (Detroit).



Very bizarre sight to say the least.
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« Reply #27 on: January 02, 2013, 10:17:09 PM »

Thanks for clarifying, because a literal burning to the ground is how I interpreted it.

Given how we do our Liturgies, I'm actually surprised how we haven't burned all our churches to the ground  Grin

But let's face it, some people do sometimes seem to express rather violent thoughts at the very idea that someone who disagrees with their religious or political viewpoints might actually (shudder) exist and share the same air. And sometimes they act on those thoughts.  Angry

It is one thing to disagree on religious views, it is another when someone actually profanes something that was used for Holy purposes.  I remember back home in the Philippines this restaurant that served dinner to Pope John Paul II during his visit in 1995 has the utensils on display at the restaurant (they catered to where he was staying, he didn't actually go to the restaurant).  And the last time I saw this was in 2007, so they probably still would have it to this day.  For Catholics, would they agree if the restaurant just washed the dishes and utensils and put them back into use with all the others in their restaurant?  By Catholic definition, these are second class relics today, right?  I know usually what was used in such visits are put away by the host countries at least as memorabilia.

Or a better example would be the Sacred Vessels.  Would you sell them to some rich guy who wants a gold plated wine glass if the church doesn't need it anymore (either they have newer vessels or the also closed down)?

Does Orthodoxy have "second, third, etc" class relics as well? Seems like it would be kinda silly, does the commode Popes use become one as well? Can someone follow them around and get second class relics of sand that they've stepped on? (I'm being serious.)
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« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2013, 10:17:53 PM »

Did this occur in the United States or elsewhere?   Huh
I know of at least one case of this happening in the US (Detroit).



Very bizarre sight to say the least.


 Sad
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« Reply #29 on: January 02, 2013, 10:21:43 PM »

That's too bad, it's a good looking Church...
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« Reply #30 on: January 02, 2013, 10:23:04 PM »

... does the commode Popes use become one as well?

 Shocked

And another OC.net thread goes down the anti-RC tubes ...  Angry
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« Reply #31 on: January 02, 2013, 10:28:57 PM »

... does the commode Popes use become one as well?

 Shocked

And another OC.net thread goes down the anti-RC tubes ...  Angry

Gah this is getting old, why does everyone here assume people that weren't raised Orthodox/RC are anti-RC and are full of Protestant baggage? I'm not 'anti-RC' in the least I was just in a RC church today.
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« Reply #32 on: January 02, 2013, 10:30:33 PM »

... does the commode Popes use become one as well?

 Shocked

And another OC.net thread goes down the anti-RC tubes ...  Angry

Yeah, it wins the prize for radiating love and forgiveness yet again.  Tongue
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« Reply #33 on: January 02, 2013, 10:32:47 PM »

BTW, it would be helpful if Orthodox folks stop treated everyone that wasn't 'born eastern' as if they were raised by Orangemen. I wasn't raised as anything and getting told to get over my non-existant Protestant upbringing was the most annoying thing of all.
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« Reply #34 on: January 02, 2013, 10:36:05 PM »

Does Orthodoxy have "second, third, etc" class relics as well?

Fwiw... I once received some wax that had melted at the grave of St. Justin Popovich. I really loved getting it as a gift and treasured it. Was it a relic? No. But it meant more to me than wax from the candle in my cupboard. Or consider water or oil from this or that location... is it more holy or grace-filled? I would guess not, yet people like being able to say they have "holy water from X"... *shrugs* Orthodoxy also has classes/levels of feasts, though that has more of a practical purpose I think.
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« Reply #35 on: January 02, 2013, 11:30:36 PM »

People took the sand from where St. Juliana of Lazarevo was buried and were healed by it. Just one example.
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« Reply #36 on: January 02, 2013, 11:50:30 PM »

Did this occur in the United States or elsewhere?   Huh
I know of at least one case of this happening in the US (Detroit).

Very bizarre sight to say the least.


That community moved from Detroit, Michigan to Westland, Michigan less than 50 years after completing their structure.  The website below is how most Greek Orthodox Churches generate revenue by competing with banquet venues.

http://www.hellenicculturalcenter.com/

Another Orthodox church in Washington, DC sold their property and intend on building a new complex in the suburbs.

In the DC example, the neighborhood, where the church was located, gentrified except over 90% of the parishioners live 45 minutes from the church and that's when traffic is good.
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« Reply #37 on: January 03, 2013, 01:08:04 AM »

Does Orthodoxy have "second, third, etc" class relics as well? Seems like it would be kinda silly, does the commode Popes use become one as well? Can someone follow them around and get second class relics of sand that they've stepped on? (I'm being serious.)

Orthodoxy doesn't segregate relics into classes.  But we have relics of the Theotokos which by Catholic standards, are second class relics (like the belt/girdle).

You can only make relics from the Pope if you are sure that the Pope will be a saint.  But of course a visit by the Pope is a big deal, and likely things he used will be kept as a memorabilia, not necessarily as a relic.  I mean, they would do this for other famous people as well.
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« Reply #38 on: January 03, 2013, 01:08:29 AM »

Did this occur in the United States or elsewhere?   Huh
I know of at least one case of this happening in the US (Detroit).



Very bizarre sight to say the least.


IS OUTRAGE!!!!
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« Reply #39 on: January 03, 2013, 09:42:10 AM »

Like the LDS and all these other Restorationists, they are Arians.  Jesus Christ is merely human whom God favored so much that he called him His Son by adoption. 
That's not actually Arianism at all, but Adoptionism. The Arians believed Christ was a created god, not a man adopted by God. Whilst you could say that the JWs and Mormons are neo-Arian (though with their own quirks), if what you describe of INC is correct (I really don't know anything much about them) then they really aren't Arian at all.

James
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« Reply #40 on: January 03, 2013, 11:22:40 AM »

Did this occur in the United States or elsewhere?   Huh
I know of at least one case of this happening in the US (Detroit).



Very bizarre sight to say the least.


That's awful.
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« Reply #41 on: January 04, 2013, 12:28:52 AM »

For more outrage, the church in DC, mentioned in Reply #36, sold their property to Iglesia ni Cristo.
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« Reply #42 on: January 04, 2013, 01:11:13 AM »

For more outrage, the church in DC, mentioned in Reply #36, sold their property to Iglesia ni Cristo.

LIGHT THE TORCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Was this temple dedicated recently?  A friend of mine on FB who is INC in NYC went to DC for a dedication.


Is it this one?

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« Reply #43 on: January 04, 2013, 01:22:33 AM »

For more outrage, the church in DC, mentioned in Reply #36, sold their property to Iglesia ni Cristo.

LIGHT THE TORCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Was this temple dedicated recently?  A friend of mine on FB who is INC in NYC went to DC for a dedication.

The community is over 100 years old.  The church building was their second (they were there from circa 1959 until 2012).  They had a parochial school building and turned an old gas station into tennis courts and additional parking.  The total area was less than 2 acres.  In the 1950's, parishioners walked to the church or made a short car trip from the suburbs when the DC traffic wasn't bad.  After the DC riots of the 1960's and the neighborhood upheaval of the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's (before DC started gentrifying), parishioners moved further into the suburbs.  Today, the community worships at an Ukrainian Orthodox Church at 8:30 AM on Sunday mornings.

choy, that's not the church in your picture.
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« Reply #44 on: January 04, 2013, 01:27:29 AM »

Even in my most ecumenical mood, the INC gets my blood boiling.
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