Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on February 2, 1985 · Page 51
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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 51

Phoenix, Arizona
Issue Date:
Saturday, February 2, 1985
Page 51
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ALL EDITIONS The Arizona republic Saturday, February 2, 1985 ID Close-ups gn With a little help from his master, Bravo, a Great Dane, responded to a mail-in marketing study. For his trouble, he received a check tor $5. C5. Religion roundup C3 DIVINE PROPOIRYBOMS j jji iX ""JI f"iTi 'TN,,, fc(ii&jl)Sil7iiii ' Phoenix First Assembly of God has built its new church on a 72-acre site at 13613 N. Cave Creek Road. Earl McCartney Republic 'Soul winning' built church, First Assembly pastor says Perched on a mountainside in north Phoenix, the building looks like a spaceship that comes out of the sky in a Steven Spielberg movie. Gazing at the massive structure from a distance, one can imagine the earth trembling, beams of lights flashing above the mountain and the orchestration of Close Encounters. The vision that created this particular church building is as cosmic as any Spielberg film. The Rev. Tommy Rarnett said that what he calls his "Sunday Super Bowl" is the largest sanctuary in the state and one of the largest in the United States. Barnett's church, the 6,000-membcr Phoenix First Assembly of God, moved into its new building at 13613 N. Cave Creek Road this week, climaxing a 4 "2 -year project that relocated the church from its site in the central city at Third Street and Monte Vista. "We simply did not have the room to grow at our other location," Barnett said. "I had a vision for a really big church. You have to have a big church to make an impact on a city this size." Story by Steven Simpler Arizona Republic Religion Editor The building, rising from a 72-acre site, reflects by its sheer size the fact that First Assembly has been the fastest-growing church in the United States for the last two years. With a fleet of 39 buses that bring children and adults from throughout the city, Sunday morning attendance often reaches 8,000. Within the circular sanctuary decorated in soft earth tones, the main floor and two balconies provide seating for 6,500. The cavernous worship area, with its sophisticated sound system, hundreds of spotlights and orchestra pit, looks more like a symphony hall than a Protestant church. "This is probably the most unlikely church to build a building like this," Barnett said. The church is not especially wealthy but rather reflects a broad cross section of people. "We've got all kinds of people in this church. I think this is the case because the Gospel jumps across all boundaries and reaches all kinds of people," he said. Barnett grinned confidently when asked how much all this is costing the church: "I guess it would be around $10Vj million." He delineated the costs $7 million for the building itself, $1 million for the parking lots and landscaping and $2'2 million for the land. The church presently owes $6 million on the project. "The only thing that justifies this is that people find the Lord," said Barnett. "This church is built on soul winning. I love souls, and that is why God is blessing this church. "The building is just a tool. We use the church to build the people rather than using the people to build the church." The pastor's plans for building a superchurch are as massive as his new sanctuary. "Five years ago, we had 250 people coming on a good Sunday. I look for 1,000 people to be converted on one Sunday morning here soon," he said. Plans are already in progress for a new educational building, a prayer chapel on top of the mountain that the church owns, and an outdoor amphitheater that will serve as a tourist attraction for the church. "This is going to be a Christian headquarters," Barnett said. One noticeable characteristic of this church building is the modest accouterments of its interior. Function was the overriding concern in designing the worship area. - Divine, C2 &M if a f - Oral Roberts Oral Roberts to help dedicate new building Oral Roberts, television evangelist from Tulsa, Okla., will speak at Phoenix First Assembly of God at 10:45 a.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday to mark the opening of the church's new building. weeti Unsure Study of philanthropic spending ranks nation's churches No. 1 By KATHY SAWYER Washington Pott WASHINGTON - Philanthropic giving by organized religion in the United States exceeds that of all the nation's corporations 8nd secular foundations combined, a comprehensive study shows. The report also notes that church philanthrophy has shifted from "redeeming souls" toward changing society, in part to compensate for cuts in government support for the needy. The 144-page report, The Philanthropy of Organized Religion, released Jan. 26 by the Council on Foundations, marveled at the creativity and increasing sophistication of religious giving. "Religious organizations are indeed donors, not just recipients," it said, noting that nearly half of all these organizations are operating in ways similar to foundations, giving grants or loans or making investments, "doing much of it in ways that are blazing new trails for the philanthropic enterprise." National and regional giving by religious organizations probably totaled at least $7.5 billion in 1983, and that total doesn't include an estimated $1 billion given at the congregational level that eluded the survey, the report said. This compares with $3.1 billion given by corporations and their foundations and $3.46 billion given by other secular foundations. The study contrasted the public fanfare associated with "the Rockefellers and the Fords, the Carnegies and the Exxons" with the "quiet army" of religious givers. Through religious giving, "every conceivable need in society is being addressed, from soup kitchens in urban areas to making films about social justice, from building wells in the Sudan to emergency food aid in Ethiopia," said James A. Joseph, president of the Council on Foundations. The trend toward grant-making, he said, is particularly encouraging Charity, C3 Pope's call to assess reforms welcomed Religious News Service WASHINGTON - The announcement that Pope John Paul II has called a special synod to assess the progress of Vatican 'II has met with optimism from Catholic scholars. The Rev. Donald R. Campion, .spiritual director of Jesuit scholastics at Fordham University and who reported on Vatican II for the Jesuit publication America, said, "Like everyone involved in Vatican II, I look with great interest on this synod and am intrigued by the possibility of review after this time. I see it as an important moment. "We are waiting for more details, for the more concrete agenda he may have in mind." Campion believes the synod could evaluate practical details of whether the church has made progress toward goals articulated by Vatican II, a practical checklist of "has this worked?" There are also "new needs things not even anticipated at the time." Dealing with these could be a "possibly more complex task, more difficult to predict." "For example, the life of the church in Africa and Asia, their new consciousness of their own needs that could open up a whole new agenda," he said. Asked whether the synod might be a move by the hierarchy to clamp down on some of the directions the church has taken since Vatican II, he said, "I wouldn't rule it out, but there's nothing the pope has said that makes me think he's trying to reverse" developments "though some people may be hoping for that." The synod "could be a more ceremonial celebration of an anniversary, or it could open up the .possibility of giving a new impetus" to reforms, to "give a new boost." It has been estimated that it would take 50 to 100 years to see the real impact of Vatican II. Campion said he believes the pope wants the church to "recapture and relive the experience" of Vatican II an experience that "went beyond the concrete details" of what was decided. "If it were anything like Vatican .II, it would be a landmark in the life of the church," he said. The Rev. Avery Dulles, professor of systematic theology at Catholic University of America in Washington, said, "It's hard to judge whether this is really intended as a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the conclusion of the council. Maybe they (the Vatican) just feel it should be marked by some kind of a commemoration. The pope was a part of the council. He feels the unity of the worldwide episcopate is very important. "Whether it's really intended to make some kind of doctrinal revisions or shifts is not clear yet. There might be some efforts to exclude extreme interpretations from both sides of the council. It could be intended to update the council itself, in terms of the changes since the council, such as liberation theology. They might want to measure liberation theol ogy in light of the council. "The pope is strongly committed to the council." Dulles said Pope John Paul II wrote a book about the council for Polish people. "He said he would devote his pontificate to faithfully carrying out (goals) of the council," Dulles said. "I don't think there's any question of backing away from the council." Bishop James Malone of Youngstown, Ohio, president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a prepared statement, "The NCCB is pleased to learn of Pope John Paul IPs announcement that he will call an extraordinary synod this fall. For two decades, the church throughout the world has benefited enormously from the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. The announcement means that the bishops of the entire world wrll have an opportunity to collaborate with the Holy Father in a special way in seeking to make Vatican II even more pastorally effective."

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