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Congregation looks for worship space after church sold

Posted June 28, 2010

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— A congregation in Coats was left without a church Sunday after their house of worship was sold without their knowledge.

Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Coats was founded in 1946, and many of its 60 or so members had worshiped there for decades. The property was owned by the Lumberton-based Full Gospel Tabernacle Conference, however, and the conference sold the church, at 178 N. Railroad St., to an Alamance County minister last week for $550,000.

"We read about it in the newspaper," said Lisa Griffin, 34, who has attended the church since she was a child. "Everybody’s shocked. I was in shock. It’s like you’re living a bad dream, and you won’t wake up from it.”

Roy Avery, a trustee of the church, said the conference was likely punishing the church for not holding to what members view as strict, outdated religious rules, such as barring members from visiting the beach or swimming pools and prohibiting women from cutting their hair or wearing pants.

A conference official declined to comment on the sale.

Avery says his church offered to buy the building in the past, but the conference never gave church leaders a price.

"This church was founded on nickles and dimes," he said.

His wife, Nancy Avery, noted that former church members bought and installed the stained-glass windows in the brick church.

"They should have given us a chance instead of selling it out from under us," she said. “I didn’t think a Christian person would do that to another Christian church."

Church generic Church sold without congregation's knowledge

The church's new owner, Kevin Barbour, has led a Full Gospel Tabernacle church near Burlington for two years. He has renamed the Coats church Calvary Full Gospel and welcomes the displaced congregation to join his church.

"We have an open-door policy, and anyone who wants to worship the Lord is welcome," Barbour said in a telephone interview. “I don’t have anything bad to say about anybody. I just want to preach the gospel.”

Church members said joining Calvary Full Gospel isn't an option.

"If you've lived in a house for 60 years and somebody throws you out on the street and you were looking for a home, I think you would be devastated too," Roy Avery said.

He and other members expressed gratitude that other community members have offered them space to worship until they have their own church building again.


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  • United Atheist Front Jul 1, 2010

    Talk about "eating your own"...

  • conservatism lives Jun 29, 2010

    i also wonder how the church that he abandoned feels...he is trying to take members from other churches to go to his new church that has no members now because he kicked them out!

  • wildcat Jun 29, 2010

    May God continue to bless these members of this church.

  • wildcat Jun 29, 2010

    Who was the person in this church that sold it, without the members knowing about it? Do the members not know what is going on? Getting a new church will not solve this major problem, not until they find out who sold the church and why?

  • wildcat Jun 29, 2010

    What kind of church was this really?

  • williebwright Jun 29, 2010

    The Bible says the in the last days men will call good evil and evil good. We will stand before God to give an account one day. I'm sure of this. Anyone who lies will have his/her part in the lake of fire. The media is quick to jump and report half truths and a half truth is a lie. And as the gentleman said in the video, the church was wanting to enforce "out dated rules" Let him tell God on that day His Word was "out dated" and he didn't have to live by it.

  • javagal68 Jun 29, 2010

    Vbarbour11 - your right the whole story has not been told. there are things you are not aware of either - either way it is wrong for "men" of God to treat other brother and sisters this way. Lynn Cash

  • pebbles262004 Jun 29, 2010

    This is just not right....I wish the memebers well and hope that the Lord will open news doors for them soon..When God closes one door he opens another, so hang in there. Maybe better things are yet to come!!

  • mjoyner46 Jun 29, 2010

    These are the endtimes and anything can and will happen. For new converts, focus on the teachings of Jesus and not people.

  • monkeyboy Jun 29, 2010

    happened to me too, scubagirl. apparently, the wral censors (not moderators) believe that cracking a joke at the expense of religion or painting it in a negative light is in no way permissable on this site.

    way to go, religously intolerant censors! great job, refusing our right to free speech!!