The 13th of February is a day I'll never forget. What began as excitement for an exit interview at 9:00 am with some Foursquare officials, turned to a gut punch that sent me reeling. I had expected, based on past precedent, that the denomination would allow us to withdraw from them without any problems. All the intel I had gathered over the past year and half led me to say these expected results. Some might say, "Well he should have known better." To those I'd say, "Touche, I should have known better". But why happened, which I did not expect, kind of proves my point of withdrawing.
When the three gentlemen came into my office they informed Joani and me that we were being removed as the Gilroy Foursquare Church pastors. O.K., no surprises here. I did expect that our withdrawal would result in being fired (if that makes sense). What came after that was one of the most shocking things I have ever experienced. They told Joani and I that we were not only fired but we were bing removed from "their building". They also told us that they were seizing all our assets and finances (over $500,000.00 dollars). Apparently our treasurer, Sue Orlandi, was being informed that they had, and I quote "Successfully closed our bank accounts."
Within the hour the locks were changed, two new signers were on our bank accounts and I was walking around in the parking lot frantically on the phone. Joani, ever quick to handle bad news better that I, was already cleaning out her office. On a side note, and to draw a little of your sympathy, I was pacing our former parking lot, on the phone, when I realized I had to use the restroom. Habitually, I started heading for the doors of the church when I realized I couldn't go in. O.K., now dry your eyes and let's continue.
As we made it very clear to all of you, we knew this was always a possibility. The legal name of our church WAS The Gilroy Foursquare Church. So our building, assets, and financial accounts were in their name. They have the legal right to do what they did. But just because it was right in their eyes does not make it right in God's eyes.
This morning I read Proverbs 21:30, which says, "There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord." I believe this with my whole heart and take confidence in God's plans.
While Joani and I were having lunch later that fateful day, she asked me, "If you knew this was going to be the results of our decision would you have still make it?" My response was, "This was proof we made the right decision." You see friends and family, our life is not just about what we stand for that matters, but who we are standing with. I cannot stand with a group of people who think like this or act this way.
What now? First of all, the time of mourning is over. We are not victims here - how could we be if we believe God works out everything for our good? We have trusted in God for our church from the very beginning back in 1990. We will continue to trust him in 2023 and moving forward. We are going to fight this and have secured a great lawyer. The final thing we ask of you is to pray, continue to financially support your church and be flexible as we navigate our future. God bless The Foothills Church of Gilroy - for we are alive and well!