Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Mars Hill Downtown to move from old Tabella to ...

One of the region's newest and fastest-growing churches will soon take up residence in one of Seattle's oldest church buildings.

Mars Hill Church plans to relocate its downtown branch this fall from Belltown to the former First United Methodist Church at Fifth Avenue and Marion Street.

Here's a bit more from the article:

Mars Hill Church, a nondenominational, evangelical Christian congregation, has outgrown its location in the former Tabella nightclub, said Tim Gaydos, lead pastor of the downtown church.
Gaydos said the church holds five weekend services for about 1,500 people and was looking for a larger venue downtown that would allow it to continue its ministries to the homeless and to young women caught in the sex-trafficking trade.

"Our heart has always been not just for a great church but for a great city. Being in this location allows us to serve and love Seattle better," Gaydos said.

The deal almost didn't happen. Mars Hill looked at the First United Methodist Church building a year ago but Daniels didn't want to sell or completely relinquish control, said Tom Graff, commercial president of Ewing & Clark Real Estate. [emphasis added]

Graff said he got Gaydos and Daniels to talk directly, and they agreed on a five-year lease. "With a lot of hard work, the deal came together," Graff said.

Almost didn't happen, eh?  Mars Hill started looking at the building a year ago but Daniels didn't want to 1) sell or 2) completely relinquish control of the property.  The lease has made the news as of this week.

Now the next thing that is worth mentioning ...
On September 27, 2011 Michael Mukasey wrote:

• The Mars Hill Church congregation may soon be packing their Bibles and leaving Belltown. Sources say that aside from rocking out, condemning the gays, and putting women in their place, Seattle's bigoted hipster misogynist church is in talks to land-swap its downtown building in exchange for a Seattle Athletic Club in Northgate. Mars Hill hasn't replied to requests for comment.

Aw, was this a failure of intel?  Maybe not, The Stranger turned out to be on the money about Mars Hill Downtown the first time.  You may peruse the following at your leisure if you haven't already.

The question of how many executive elders there were at Mars Hill in September 2007 when the bid on Tabella was made is one that remains unanswered. If it was less than four it was less than the number required by the bylaws that were in effect at the time.

What is apparent now, of course, is that Mars Hill Downtown is sticking downtown.

So let's back up a bit to the part in yesterday's news (well, technically, Monday's)  that explains that the deal nearly didn't go through.  We're told that Daniels didn't want to sell or completely relinquish control of the building Mars Hill Downtown will be moving into. When Mars Hill bid on Tabella it was news because the bid was reported in the media before members or non-executive elders even knew what was going on, it seems.  In this case the deal is a five-year lease and not a purchase.  Before the 2008 housing bubble Mars Hill was more interested in buying.  Mars Hill bought Tabella for approximately 70 percent more than it's valuation in 2007.  2008 came and the real estate bubble burst.  The property that was once Tabella took a million-dollar dive in value.

This situation of leasing rather than buying isn't a suprise.

Driscoll already suggested that churches could ask if they could become a part of Mars Hill in April this year.

Sutton Turner wrote in January this year that Jesus just stepped on the gas.

Mars Hill launched campuses at Portland, Orange County, Rainier valley, and Sammamish in January 2012, which coincided with the publication of Real Marriage, which made it to the New York Times bestseller list.  It's understandable why Turner might have written something called "Jesus just stepped on the gas".

Then in late January the story of Andrew broke.  The Mars Hill public reaction cast a great deal of doubt on Andrew's character and truthfulness without actually doing anything other than vaguely gesturing toward the idea that there are "two sides to every story". I'm not going to rehearse all that at this point.

In March Paul Petry went on record with what happened to him during the 2007 firings.  Mars Hill has not publicly reacted even to the point of acknowledging that any of the materials exist.  Don't expect them to.  What did happen a week after Joyful Exiles went up was that Scott Thomas, according to Matt Chandler, told Chandler that he felt God had released him from leading Acts 29.  Duly noted.

But it was in June that Mars Hill Orange County was served an eviction notice:
from June 5, 2012

Building and planning officials with the city say Mars Hill needs to find a new spot to sing praises to the Lord, because the venue is not in a zone designed for churches.

Jay Trevino, Santa Ana's executive director of the Planning and Building Agency, reportedly told The Christian Post that the city welcomes Mars Hill, but the fellowship is "conducting a church under our zoning ordinance. Churches aren't allowed in that zoning district, but are allowed in many other zoning districts."

Church leaders aren't exactly happy with the city's answers, so they are looking to God, and lawyers, to provide some. Pastor Mark Driscoll, founder of the Seattle-based network of Mars Hill churches, said on a video posted to the church's website that the concert venue gets packed out on Sundays, and there are no traffic or parking problems.

"So, we're not exactly sure what the problem is," Driscoll said. "We've been asking and the truth is we're not getting a lot of answers."

Driscoll said the church has hired lawyers to look into the matter, and "if we do find that we're just getting bullied by a political discriminatory agenda against Christianity and the church, we'll hold our ground. If we find out as well that it's just somebody on a council somewhere with an axe to grind against Christianity, we'll hold our ground.

And if we do, in fact, find that somehow we're violating laws and rules that don't make a lot of sense to us, then we'll obey the governing authorities like the Scriptures say."

This was the sermon where the Church Update was given.

If in January 2012 Sutton Turner was saying Jesus had just stepped on the gas the eviction of Orange County and in June Driscoll shared about the eviction, systemic deficits, a mass lay-off, and the decision to not plant new churches this year does that mean Jesus slammed on the brakes?

But whoever stepped on the brakes the bus has not stopped. Perhaps the driver was reminded by some cops that there's a speed limit. and the rules of the road need to be observed.


Anonymous said...

" serve and love Seattle better."


Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

The old Tabella is up for sale now, which I figured was likely the case. There's a new post about that topic, obviously.