The Restored Church of God opens new world headquarters in Ohio

06/26/2013 4:00 PM

06/26/2013 4:01 PM

The Restored Church of God has officially moved into its new home — a multimillion-dollar, 40,000-square-foot building in Wadsworth, Ohio.

On June 21, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception was held at the newly constructed administration building. The distinct white building with columns and crystal chandeliers is the first of five buildings that will eventually make up the world headquarters campus of the independent church.

“In late 2007, a property I had driven past for years in the special city of Wadsworth, Ohio, I suddenly saw as perfect for all of our rapidly expanding needs, meaning five buildings it would have to contain,” said David C. Pack, president and pastor general of the church. “I envisioned a shimmering jewel befitting the Great God that would be visible — as a biblical ‘city set on a hill’ — to literally hundreds of thousands every day on highways passing either side of what would become our lower campus.”

Plans for the property include a newly constructed building to house the training institute for its ministers and leaders called the Ambassador Center.

The auditorium and training center buildings are in the final phases of the campus construction. The next phase, expected to be completed this year, includes the completion of a media center and mail processing building.

“Soon we hope to also announce the purchase of farmland, which will lead to one of the most important agriculture programs anywhere on Earth … it will be a model for all nations demonstrating the crucial basics about quality food production lost by many today,” Pack said.

The independent church does not solicit the general public for financial support and does not proselytize. The new campus is being paid for by its members.

The Restored Church of God is rooted in the tradition of the Worldwide Church of God, founded in 1934 by Herbert Armstrong as a religious broadcasting radio ministry — Radio Church of God.

Pack was trained by Armstrong at Ambassador College, which Armstrong also founded. A former competitive swimmer who trained for the 1968 Olympics, Pack grew up in Lima, Ohio, and served as pastor of two churches in Akron — congregations of the Worldwide Church of God and the offshoot Global Church of God — for nearly 10 years before establishing the Restored Church of God in 1999.

Although Armstrong’s ministry has been criticized by some cult-watching organizations, followers report that when Armstrong died in 1986, his church was attracting 120,000 people to weekly services, with an annual income of about $200million. Circulation of its The Plain Truth magazine was more than 8million, and “The World Tomorrow” attracted one of the largest religious television audiences in America.

Published reports indicated that Worldwide Church of God members paid as much as 20 to 30 percent in tithes. Leaders of the Restored Church of God dispute that, saying members have always paid an average of 12.5 percent of their annual income.

Leaders of the church consider it unique in that it does not fit under the three main branches of Christianity (Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism). It teaches that the Bible is mankind’s instruction manual on how to live God’s way. It also teaches that Jesus came, not as a savior but as a messenger, to announce the coming of God’s kingdom, to replace Satan and reign over the kingdom, and to reconcile mankind to God.

The international organization, which is not considered a denomination by its leaders, currently has more than 370 congregations in 50 countries on six continents.

It publishes The Real Truth magazine, broadcasts “The World to Come” with David C. Pack and claims to have the largest biblically based websites in the world. In self-published reports, leaders of the church say more than 65million items have been downloaded from the church’s websites and that its programs and materials have reached more than 220 countries and territories.

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