Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Without Walls pastor vows to fight foreclosure threat

The Rev. Randy White of Without Walls International Church discusses the church’s finances during Sunday’s service.

GEN YAMAGUCHI | Times

The Rev. Randy White of Without Walls International Church discusses the church’s finances during Sunday’s service.

TAMPA — In a service notable for its unusual content, the Rev. Randy White, pastor of Without Walls International Church, laid bare the church's financial situation Sunday and its bid to stave off foreclosure of its two campuses.

White told his congregation, once one of the fastest-growing churches in the country, that church leaders would continue trying to negotiate with its lender this week. If those talks fail, they will consider several options, including filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, refinancing or selling the church.

The preacher pledged not to run and asked members to stand with him as he fights.

"I'll be damned if I'm leaving," White said. "I promise you this: I will handcuff myself to that column right there because right is right and wrong is wrong. We are a great church, and the devil has tried to take us out every single way that he can."

Last week, the St. Petersburg Times reported that the California-based Evangelical Christian Credit Union filed foreclosure proceedings against Without Walls, which owes $13-million for its Tampa property and $12.5-million on its Lakeland branch.

The two parties had been negotiating on the terms of the Tampa mortgage for months. But talks broke off recently when White's lawyers urged him not to sign a loan modification agreement that included stipulations requiring the church to relinquish ownership of its assets, including intellectual property.

In court documents, the credit union said Without Walls was in default on a $1-million line of credit that was due in August. White disputes that claim, and said the church had made arrangements to repay the line of credit from the sale of a $1.4-million piece of property at its Lakeland site.

Like an attorney building a case, White provided documentation Sunday that detailed talks with the credit union. He placed copies of those documents, along with his credit card and personal giving statements, on a table beneath the altar. He invited the congregation and the media to peruse them.

In his 90-minute sermon, White devoted 30 minutes to talk of the foreclosure proceedings. He spent an hour rebutting a series of articles written by the Tampa Tribune about the church over an 18-month period. White said the coverage had cost the church and its affiliates, which include Paula White Ministries, millions of dollars.

Jeff Scullin, Sunday editor at the Tribune, said the newspaper had no comment on White's remarks.

As White spoke, church members brought pink offering envelopes and laid them at the altar. The gesture, common in some Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, signals that the givers are sowing a financial seed into what they believe is fertile ground.

Longtime member Ethel Puleo said the talk of foreclosure did not worry her at all.

"I'm going to stay true to pastor, and I believe God," said Puleo, 86. "We have an impossible God that can perform miracles."

Sherri Day can be reached at sday@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3405.

Without Walls pastor vows to fight foreclosure threat 11/09/08 [Last modified: Saturday, November 15, 2008 11:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Dodgers close in on World Series with 6-1 win over Cubs

    Ml

    CHICAGO — Yu Darvish pitched into the seventh inning, Chris Taylor homered again and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Tuesday night to open a commanding 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

    Los Angeles Dodgers' Chris Taylor hits a home run Tuesday during the third inning of Game 3 of baseball's National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs. [Associated Press]
  2. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  3. Mother's testimony about toddler's death brings judge to tears

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Nayashia Williams woke up early on May 7, 2014, to the sound of her daughter calling for her. It was the last time the young mother's mornings would begin with a summons from Myla Presley, who couldn't yet climb over the mesh fencing around the playpen she used as a bed.

    Deandre Gilmore looks towards the gallery Tuesday in a Tampa courtroom. Gilmore is accused of killing the 19 month-old daughter of his girlfriend in 2014. He said the child fell while he was giving her a bath. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  4. Speakers: Getting tough can't be only response to teen car thefts

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Bob Dillinger remembers coming to Pinellas County as a legal intern in 1975. There were five major poverty zones in St. Petersburg.

    Wengay Newton, Florida House of Representatives (in front, in center), talks as a panelist to a packed room during a community forum on "Reclaiming our Youth: Is Juvenile Justice a Reality?" at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum in St. Petersburg Wednesday evening (10/17/17). The event was presented by the Fred G. Minnis, Sr. Bar Association. Community leaders discussed the ongoing auto theft epidemic among Pinellas youth.
  5. Internal White House documents allege manufacturing decline increases abortions, infertility and spousal abuse

    Politics

    White House officials working on trade policy were alarmed last month when a top adviser to President Donald Trump circulated a two-page document that alleged a weakened manufacturing sector leads to an increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce and infertility, two people familiar with the matter told the …