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. New Graham-Cassidy health care plan stumbles under opposition from governors

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — The suddenly resurgent Republican effort to undo the Affordable Care Act was dealt a blow on Tuesday when a bipartisan group of governors came out against a proposal gaining steam in the Senate.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., joined by, from left, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., speaks to reporters as he pushes a last-ditch effort to uproot former President Barack Obama's health care law, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. To win, 50 of the 52 GOP senators must back it -- a margin they failed to reach when the chamber rejected the effort in July. [/J. Scott Applewhite | Associated Press]
  2. Former Lightning forward Brian Boyle diagnosed with cancer, expects to keep playing

    Lightning Strikes

    New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone-marrow cancer that the team's doctor said can largely be treated with medication.

    Brian Boyle has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone-marrow cancer that the team's doctor says can be treated with medication, the Devils announced Tuesday. [AP photo]
  3. Editorial: Genshaft right to oust USF St. Petersburg leader

    Editorials

    In times of crisis, leaders cannot abandon ship and be unclear about their whereabouts. That is essentially what the leader of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg did with Hurricane Irma headed this way. Sophia Wisniewska's actions fell short of what should be expected from an experienced administrator …

    Sophia Wisniewska’s actions fell short of what should be expected from an experienced administrator responsible for the safety of her students and the security of her campus, and the move by USF president Judy Genshaft, above, to fire her was appropriate.
  4. Duke Energy Florida president answers questions about utility's response to Irma

    Hurricanes

    ST. PETERSBURG — After more than a week since Hurricane Irma knocked out power to millions of Floridians, Duke Energy announced it will finish its restoration efforts Tuesday.

    Duke Energy Florida President Harry Sideris greets St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman on Tuesday at a news conference where both spoke about Hurricane Irma recovery. The event was held at a Florida Department of Transportation lot next to Maximo Park in St. Petersburg, where the city is collecting Irma yard debris which will be mulched and sold to a local tomato farmer. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Leaves, mountains, ice cream and cheese: What's not to like in Burlington, Vt.?

    Travel

    If I loved Burlington, Vt., during a visit with my daughter when the high was 37 degrees, I feel completely comfortable recommending the city as a great destination for fall, when it's considered one of the top leaf-watching spots in the world.

    Founded in 1791, the University of Vermont is the sixth-oldest college established in New England.