Head of U.S. 'Holy Land' Theme Park Resigns

The president of Holy Land Experience has resigned, giving full control of the Christian theme park to Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), which had acquired it in June.

In an statement released through its PR agency, WDC Media, TBN announced that Thomas E. Powell had resigned his position as president and his position on the Holy Land Experience's Board of Directors following the "successful transition of the Holy Land Experience to Trinity."

"After the Holy Land Experience was started, it experienced a significant period of both financial and organizational hurdles. Mr. Powell became involved in the Holy Land Experience during these troubled times and guided the Holy Land Experience through its numerous problems," TBN stated.

"Believing that it was his calling, Mr. Powell assisted and participated in the negotiations and transition of the Holy Land Experience to its current association with Trinity, which has ensured the success, growth, and mission of the Holy Land Experience. Without Mr. Powell's involvement, this transition and success could not have occurred."

In June, Trinity Broadcasting Network, a Calif.-based organization with 12,500 worldwide TV and cable affiliates, took over Holy Land and its estimated $8 million mortgage. Since both are non-profit organizations, Trinity has described the deal as a "marriage" rather than a purchase, saying little money changed hands.

"We believe that the way this came together it was designed by God for us to continue the way we need to," Powell told The Associated Press in July.

"I don't think the end result is because of anything any person did. I think it's the end result of what everyone here was asking for," he added.

Now, having completed his calling with respect to the Holy Land Experience, Powell is moving on to his next challenge and calling, TBN reported in its announcement.

"[A]nd Trinity recognizes and applauds Mr. Powell for all of his efforts and support for the Holy Land Experience, its employees, and supporters," the network concluded.

Located in Orlando, Fla., Holy Land Experience has in its six years of operation aimed to recreate Jerusalem of Biblical times. It is often referred to as a "Christian theme park," but the park offers lectures rather than rides, making it feel more like a trip to church than a trip to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando or SeaWorld – all of which are just miles away from it. The park's officers prefer to call it a "living biblical museum."

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