In fact such a situation is not so unusual. Churches, some of them anyway, have lots of money and lots of power and their hard to fight against. Especially those monstrosities known as "megachurches.
The church in Davenport led by Rev Peter Marty (pictured here) has grand plans for a "grand campus."
After fighting the church for years the family that occupied the house (which has been designated as historical) finally moved out. Jeanne Truesdell and her husband had seen the church buying up houses all around them...and then tearing the suckers down. They resisted until Jeanne died and her husband grew ill.
Rev. Marty accuses those who want the historic house preserved of worshiping idolatry.
This is the same Rev. Marty who could barely wait for Jeanne to be laid at rest who showed up within hours of her funeral pressuring the family again to sell.
Did I mention that Rev. Marty was concerned that if someone else got hold of the house they'd turn it into apartments and he didn't really want apartment dwellers as neighbors for his church?
I forget the part where Jesus wailed against apartment dwellers.
Rev. Marty is not my idea of a good Christian.
A Davenport resident who identified herself as "d\'port moma" took on the reverend in the local newspaper, "We've watched the ridiculous, gaudy -- and I'm sure hugely expensive -- expansion of your church, and then you turn around and claim you can't afford to rehab this house," she wrote in anger.
Another reader wrote, "I drove by St. Paul's for the first time yesterday since the renovation and I literally gasped at the gaudiness of it, especially what I figured out were supposed to be three enormous towering crosses. My first thought was, 'that's obscene in it's pretentiousness'. I felt embarrassed as a Christian to be even remotely associated with something so far removed from what I feel are Christ's teachings of humility and use of our resources to help others, not to glorify ourselves."
American neighborhood all over the country are threatened by these giant churches whose only aim seems to just get bigger...and make more money.
Some local governments, feeling they have sound reasons to do so, have been attempting to limit the size and location of megachurches through application of zoning laws. Fat chance as the churches in question say their freedom to worship is being violated.
Robert Longley, a long time consultant for local municipalities says that unlike traditional churches, the impacts of megachurches on a city's infrastructure more closely resemble those of a business with 2,000 employees or a modest-sized retail center. Traffic, noise, and sheer building massing in otherwise residential settings are just a few of the most often mentioned negative impacts of megachurches, which pay no taxes toward maintaining the city services they impact.
Jim McAllister of Scottsdale ,AZ and a community columnist for the Arizona Republic writes these monster churches,
"...pay no income tax so they usually have plenty of money to add schools, gymnasiums, amphitheaters, and playgrounds. As these places grow, so does the accompanying activity in the form of seven days per week traffic, more noise, more lighting, and lower property values in the area. This is not the church of your daddy that just operated on Sunday; this is a large corporation with the pastor acting as chief executive or 'PastorPreneur.' A lot of these churches have other revenue streams such as publishing and recording income and TV and radio programming. Many have orchestras play at services; gone are the days of mom helping out the pastor by playing the organ on Sunday. This is big business in the name of God."
...and as such anyone and anything standing in their way shalt face his wrath, I reckon'.
"It's unfortunate that churches can't abide by the same rules that anybody else has to abide by," said Susan Kennedy, president of the Jupiter Farms (Florida) Environmental Council, as quoted in a Palm Beach Post article. "You wouldn't want a Super Wal-Mart or a giant-sized church placed in a small residential community."
No, I sure as hell wouldn't.
The following story is from the Quad City Times.
Council says historic home can be torn down
Davenport aldermen, overriding a unanimous recommendation by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, cleared the path for St. Paul Lutheran Church to tear down a registered historic home on Main Street. The council refused to grant the home local landmark status.
Although the council passed an amendment delaying the demolition for 60 days — to give time for preservationists to find a way to save the home — the church has no legal obligation to do so without the local designation.
The family that lived in the Henry Deutsch House at 2101 Main St., listed on the National Register of Historic Places, resisted requests by the church to buy the property for years.
“My mom did not want to move out of that house, because she knew the church was going to get it,” said Dana Young, the daughter of Jeanne and Kenneth Truesdell who lived in the home until 2006. “You should have seen all the beautiful homes that were on that street and then torn down by the church.
“Each time they told people they were going to use them, then they tore them down. My feeling is they’ve never intended to keep any of these homes up. The first one they said was going to be used for the pastor’s house, but that never happened. They tore it down.”
Young said it was the death of Jeanne Truesdell and the failing health of her father that led to the eventual sale in April 2006. Kenneth Truesdell needed the proceeds of the sale to pay for his placement in an assisted living center, she said.
Young, and her sister Renee Truesdell, said they were “miffed” at St. Paul’s Pastor Peter Marty’s aggressive pursuit of the home after their mother’s death.
“Not even an hour after my mother’s funeral, Pastor Marty came over to our house and brought up that he was still interested in buying the house and wanted to go through it again,” she said. “We’d never met him before. We hadn’t even been home for an hour or changed, and he was over there.”
The future of the home — built by Davenport architect Dietreich Harfst in 1906 utilizing Craftsman and Frank Lloyd Wright concepts — was hotly debated at Wednesday’s council meeting.
Third Ward Alderman Bill Boom, who cast the lone no vote, attempted to get the landmark designation resolution tabled for 60 days, stating he had been in contact with a member of the St. Paul parish who was interested in funding renovation.
But the tabling move was avoided when Alderman Shawn Hamerlinck, 2nd Ward, instead proposed an amendment to grant the demolition, but only after the 60-day delay.
Members of the Historic Preservation Commission said they felt betrayed by the nine aldermen who voted against landmark designation.
“To be belittled at times is heartbreaking,” said John Frueh, the commission’s chairman. “I don’t like seeing the politics involved here. The ordinance sets out how this is supposed to work. This house is worth preservation.”
Frueh, and commission member Fritz Miller, pointed out that the house is structurally sound and is currently livable.
However, Marty said renovating the house is economically infeasible. The church, he said, looked at renovation but deemed it too expensive.
Marty said estimates to renovate the house — obtained from local contractors who do that type of work — show it could cost more than $500,000 to make it livable. Even after that level of investment, the most the house would be worth is likely around $250,000.
Those facts were disputed by commissioners and the remaining members of the Truesdell family.
Miller said the $500,000 estimate would be for “museum quality” restoration and noted that area real estate agents have sold similar sized houses in the Vander Veer Historic Neighborhood for between $200,000 and $400,000.
Also, Miller said, the church knew before buying the home that it was a historic property.
“There is a plaque by the front door that says it’s on the register,” Miller said. “The church knew full-well it was historic property. That’s not debatable. In our commission meetings, Pastor Marty said it was to be used for parking. They didn’t want this building to renovate, that’s plain.”
Young also disputed Marty’s previous claim that the house was in “deplorable” condition. She and her sister frequently stayed there up until her mother died in 2006, and the home was in sound shape, she said.
“It was not deplorable,” she said.
Church leaders knew what they were buying and should not have been surprised at the home’s condition, she added.
“They went through the house several times, they had it inspected, they knew what condition it was in,” she said.
When the council appeared ready to table the landmark designation legislation earlier in the meeting, Marty expressed frustration.
“I fear the idolization of a structure in this instance,” he said. “It’s idolatry of an old structure.”
Further, Marty said, he was unaware of any parishioners willing to fund renovation efforts.
“If in fact there are gifts forthcoming, we were not aware of it,” he said.
He also denied the church is interested in the property solely to create more parking spaces.
“This has nothing to do with consolidating our campus,” he said. “Everything we’ve done has had to do with the financial unreasonableness of this.”