(Photo: Loop Net)
The Richmond Outreach Center (ROC), a megachurch in Virginia, is selling its original worship sanctuary that has been on the market since former senior pastor Geronimo Aguilar resigned, after being charged of sexual aggravation of two minors.
The nearly 70,000 square foot property, listed for $2.6 million, was the ROC's first church building before moving to their current location in 2010. Since then, the building has been leased to a Christian private school, the Elijah Academy, that is now moving to another location in Richmond, which prompted the ROC to list the property on the market.
"We were talking about selling the property months before they were losing their tenants...it's just been a domino effect," said Berry Hofheimer, the selling real estate agent, to The Christian Post. "There has been an unbelievable amount of interest in the property. One group came back yesterday for the third time and the property will be under contract shortly and hopefully sold before the end of the year."
Hofheimer also made clear the ROC's decision to sell its building is unrelated to Aguilar's sex scandal but due in part to their interest in acquiring additional funds for their buses, which transport many members to their megachurch services and activities.
Currently, the sale of the property is not ROC's main priority due to other major issues it now face.
"The Richmond Outreach Center is focusing upon the daily ministries of The ROC in the Greater Richmond area and spending a considerable amount of time in the beginning stages of our search for a new senior pastor. These are our highest priorities," a spokesperson, who asked not to be identified, told CP on Friday.
Three additional ministers resigned along with Aguilar in June, causing a major hole in the church's leadership. The ROC board of directors had previously stated that it is focusing on a nationwide search to hire an interim pastor to lead worship services and expects to bring a full-time senior pastor on board within the next year.
Aguilar is currently out on bond and living in a $600,000 ROC parsonage, which he and his family will eventually have to move out of. He is awaiting his trial to begin in Fort Worth, Texas, and faces up to life in prison if convicted of seven felony charges.