The controversial Church of Scientology said to be home to Hollywood A-listers like Tom Cruise, John Travolta and allegedly Will Smith has been on a building binge since the organization announced its plan to shower the world with "Ideal Churches of Scientology." In addition to raising beams in major urban areas in Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia, the L. Ron Hubbard-founded faith has its sights set on historic Harlem in New York City.
The New York Daily News reports that the Church of Scientology is building a chapel and community center along East 125th Street in the northern Manhattan neighborhood that birthed the Harlem Renaissance and is home to the historic Apollo Theater.
According to the report, the Scientology building will house a 200-seat prayer room, a cafe and 12 classrooms. The chapel is reportedly near completion while the community center next door remains under construction. The new facility was slated for a 2014 opening and will offer East Harlem residents self-help classes and tutoring for school children. more >>
An academic institution based in South Carolina has expressed concern over a proposed expansion of a fast-growing megachurch.
Officials at Clemson University have remarked that NewSpring Church's plan to build a new campus near one of their facilities was a source of concern.
According to local media, the focus of worry involves a 30-acre piece of property found nearby Clemson's International Center for Automotive Research in Greenville along Interstate 85. more >>
While some local congregations build floats or manger scenes as a major project, one church in Illinois is looking to build something more aerodynamic.
River of Life Community Church of Clarendon Hills is in the process of completing airplanes for the purpose of using them for mission work in the East African nation of Mozambique. According to Annemarie Mannion of the Chicago Tribune, progress is already being made on the frame of the stainless steel plane, known as the Zenith CH 801.
"The wings of Zenith CH801 have been assembled on the carpeted floor of the River of Life Community Church while volunteers plan in the weeks ahead to install the fuselage to connect the cabin and the tail," wrote Mannion. more >>
A Lutheran pastor in Minnesota is planning to combat a decline in church attendance by millennials (young adults born after 1981) by opening a "groundbreaking surprise church" targeting the generation and set to open next year.
"When the Prodigal son returned home in Luke 15, he had low expectations for the kind of reception he would receive," states a publicist representing Pastor Matt Anderson in press release. "He expected his father to be as bitter and judgmental as his brother turned out to be. He expected to return as a duty-laden hired hand, not a son.
"But instead, he was enveloped by an inter-generational surprise party that shattered his negative preconceptions and readmitted him into the family. This is the basis for the 'surprise church.'" There is no mention of where the church will be located, but the dateline for the press release is Golden Valley, Minn. more >>
A Southern Baptist couple left their livelihood behind in Georgia for an urban, life changing experience after realizing their calling was to become pastors. Now their sole purpose is to plant a church in Brooklyn while getting their family adjusted to the big city.
Jon and Bonnie Carr's decision to move with their two young daughters last year stemmed from a 2010 New York City mission trip in which Jon felt a need to spread the word of God to a city that lacked a great evangelical presence. After spending seven years in ministry school and leading two Georgia churches, Jon understood his desire to plant a church and his concern for New Yorkers were the factors that defined his calling.
"It was God who stirred our hearts and shaped our desires to move to NYC. Over the course of two years God instilled within us a great passion for the city and urban renewal; as well as a deep burden for the people of the city," said Jon to The Christian Post. more >>
Seattle-based Mars Hill Church pastor Mark Driscoll announced plans for a 15th regional church in Phoenix to be launched sometime in late January or early February of next year.
In making the announcement, Driscoll introduced Pastor Ryan Welsh, who said that he and his family plan to move to Phoenix in mid-August to begin planting the church.
"We want a core group of 150 people and for 30 people to raise up their hand and say, 'I want to be a community group leader,'" Welsh told Driscoll recently during an announcement seen in a video on the church's website. He said they will begin training for the opening as soon as possible. more >>