As the 5Cities Homeless Coalition (5CHC) attempts to finalize the purchase of Hillside Church in Grover Beach to develop a homeless service center, a church ownership dispute erupts, potentially threatening the sale.
On May 6, William John Fleming, an opponent of the sale who claims to be the president of Hillside Church, filed documents with the state and county clerk who ceded ownership of the property to the church Baptist Bethel of Grover Beach, who was the original of the church. affiliation dating back to 1962.
In recent years, the church had moved under the aegis of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA), a national congregation. In October 2018, then-pastor Ron Kennedy filed documents transferring ownership of Bethel Baptist Church to Hillside Church of CMA.
Fleming could not be reached at press time, but he had opposed the sale to SLO County Supervisory Board on April 23, before the board awarded $ 2.7 million in grants. government to help subsidize the planned 5CHC project at the site.
Fleming said he was a member of the church board.
“I can tell you that the rules of Bethel Baptist Church were not followed when it was transformed into [CMA] church, “Fleming told the board.” I want everyone here to be aware that we’re not going to sit down and take this. We will seek redress. ”
After its deed was filed on May 6, according to the SLO County Assessor’s Office, the church was again in the hands of Bethel Baptist Church, with Fleming as its agent.
âAs far as we are concerned at this point, Bethel Baptist is now the owner,â County Assessor Tom Bordonaro said. New times May 14.
Bordonaro added that a challenge to the transfer should take place in court.
Representatives of the CMA and Hillside Church could not be reached at press time.
Some time after ownership was transferred to Hillside Church of CMA in 2018, 5CHC began talks to purchase the church property. The sale is currently in escrow.
“We have been informed that there is not necessarily a clear title,” said Janna Nichols, executive director of 5CHC. “We hope this can be resolved soon. Until then, homelessness is still a crisis here.”
On Mother’s Day, Fleming led a Sunday service outside the locked Newport Avenue Church, where he was joined by neighborhood residents opposed to the homelessness plan that could replace him. Grover Beach Police were on guard.
Willie Heck, a four-year pastor at Hillside Church, said New times he and his remaining members are looking for a new place to worship.
âIt was ugly,â Heck said of the argument. “It’s just too bad.â¦ People forget that the church is about people and not about buildings.” ??