TAMPA – Without Walls International Church unsuccessfully closed the negotiations to buy a 10,000-seat sanctuary from partnering Carpenter’s Home Church, May 31, the “Lakeland Ledger” reported.
The non-denominational urban congregation WWIC began sharing the Assemblies of God affiliated CHC sanctuary in a 10-month arrangement last August. Throughout the merger, both congregations kept their own identities; Leaders said the "Coalition of Compassion" plan allowed the two congregations to "share facilities and pool their outreach and mission efforts to reap a greater harvest."
CHC, formerly First Assembly of God in Lakeland, was built in 1985 at the cost of $12 million dollars. However, despite the sanctuary’s capacity, the congregation never grew larger than 5,000. The WWIC, with 14,000 members, hoped to buy the chapel for their services.
According to the WWIC associate pastor Jennifer Mallan, the negotiations to buy the sanctuary failed because the two sides were “a couple million dollars” apart in price.
"Everyone involved really tried to make it work," she said. "We don't fault anyone ... They had a price and they weren't going to lower it. We respect that ... but we are very disappointed. We felt it was a God thing."
However, Mallan added WWIC would continue its outreach ministry in Lakeland, distributing food in public-housing complexes and conducting mobile children's Sunday schools. She said the church would consider co-sponsoring conferences with Carpenter's Home.