Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Two congregations asked to leave church campus

CLEARWATER — The dream of owning their own building will have to be deferred for two Clearwater congregations who had hoped to purchase the former Woodlawn Church of God in Clearwater.

Count It All Joy Church of Deliverance, led by Pastor Christopher Bennett, and Restoration Village Ministries, led by Pastor Nathaniel Ramsey, had been paying $2,100 a month to rent space in two buildings on the church's campus at 845 Woodlawn St.

They held fundraisers and struggled to raise the $1.2-million needed. But last month, the two congregations were told to leave.

"We've given them 10 months to obtain financing, and they just weren't able to do it," said Pastor Randy Morris, whose Harvest Temple congregation owns the buildings. "Our expenses were much greater than our income, so we had to make other arrangements there. We just could not financially keep providing the property at such a reduced price."

The buildings on the Woodlawn Street campus became available in 2006 when Woodlawn Church of God merged with Harvest Temple and moved to Largo.

Morris said the space will be occupied by the Woodlawn Community Academy, the church's K-12 school.

The two congregations moved out at the end of June, a sour end to the story for Bennett.

"We (were) involved heavily in that community," Bennett said. "It was a painful decision for us to leave."

His congregation now operates out of an 800-square-foot storefront on N Myrtle Avenue.

Ramsey said he didn't want to talk about the issue because he was trying to put it behind him.

At a recent neighborhood meeting, rumors spread that the Church of Scientology had purchased the property.

Morris flatly denied that.

"I have never had any contact with the Church of Scientology or any of its subsidiary schools or associations," Morris said.

Church of Scientology spokeswoman Pat Harney said she "never heard" about that church and there was nothing to the rumor.

Jonathan Abel can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4157.

Two congregations asked to leave church campus 07/18/08 [Last modified: Sunday, July 20, 2008 11:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Empire' star Grace Byers keynotes USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy luncheon

    Human Interest


    TAMPA — The first University of South Florida graduate to address the USF's Women in Leadership & Philanthropy supporters, Grace Gealey Byers, class of 2006, centered her speech on her first name, turning it into a verb to share life lessons.

    Grace Byers, University of South Florida Class of 2006, stars on the Fox television show Empire. She delivered the keynote at the USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy luncheon Friday. Photo by Amy Scherzer
  2. Southeast Seminole Heights holds candlelight vigil for victims' families and each other


    TAMPA — They came together in solidarity in Southeast Seminole Heights, to sustain three families in their grief and to confront fear, at a candlelight vigil held Sunday night in the central Tampa neighborhood.

    A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
  3. It's not just Puerto Rico: FEMA bogs down in Florida, Texas too

    HOUSTON — Outside Rachel Roberts' house, a skeleton sits on a chair next to the driveway, a skeleton child on its lap, an empty cup in its hand and a sign at its feet that reads "Waiting on FEMA."

    Ernestino Leon sits among the debris removed from his family’s flood-damaged Bonita Springs home on Oct. 11. He has waited five weeks for FEMA to provide $10,000 to repair the home.
  4. McConnell says he's awaiting Trump guidance on health care

    STERLING, Va. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he's willing to bring bipartisan health care legislation to the floor if President Donald Trump makes clear he supports it.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “not certain yet” on what Trump wants.
  5. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series


    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.