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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Destruction of Warner Auditorium

A new addition to the Blogosphere is one called CHOGOLOGY, with Lloyd Moritz and David Owens as facilitators. They began with a discussion about events at Anderson, Indiana, during NAC (North American Convention, or Not Anderson Campmeeting). Since both of them seemed to applaud the vote to demolish Warner Auditorium and only about two others beside myself voted against the proposal, I thought I would add a comment to their website and to the discussion. Here is what I wrote.

Lloyd and David, I was one of about three who voted against the destruction of Warner Auditorium in the recent General Assembly. There may have been more than three, but that is all I heard. Perhaps I am guilty of what you called “Midwestern provincialism”. On the other hand, perhaps the three of us were right. The powerful voice of the majority rules (and I think it usually should) but they are not always right. I wish I felt more confident that this was a good decision.

I was not opposed to selling the property to Anderson University and I am not opposed to it being developed in a way that would give it more year-round usefulness. To be honest, I think I am motivated partly by a love for the Warner Auditorium. A lot of good things have taken place in that building and I find it disconcerting to pay $700,000 to tear it down when for less than two million it could be restored. I know it needs work, including dealing with the asbestos issue and finding more comfortable chairs. By the way, does anyone know what it would cost to replace the building Anderson University will tear down? My guess is it would be a lot more than $3.4 million.

Would it be possible for it to become an all-purpose, year round, assembly hall type facility that could be used for sports events, concerts and other community purposes, as well as for church use? Do we care that if we tear it down we will tear down something of architectural and historical significance to the Church of God, to the city of Anderson, and to the state of Indiana? If Anderson University could recycle the auditorium and thus make it more financially feasible is it possible it could be a credit to the university and to the church?

I also must ask if it is possible many voted to tear it down out of a desire to move the convention out of Anderson? If so, can’t Church of God congregations in the west or other “geographic fringes” as you called it, plan similar conventions so it would be close enough for “geographic fringe” people to attend? Would they? If we destroy “Anderson Campmeeting” will it really improve the Church of God? Will the kingdom of God be advanced more fully by tearing down this building?

David, I find your comparison of Anderson Campmeeting to the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca a bit of a stretch. I have to assume you were trying to be funny, but it didn’t work for me. Sorry.

I also thought it was interesting that when General Director Duncan told the campmeeting crowd about the sale of land to Anderson University he did not mention that Warner Auditorium would be demolished. Even on, the article about the transfer of property from one board to another didn’t mention the destruction of Warner Auditorium until the fifth paragraph.

In paragraph eight we read “The purpose of Church of God Ministries (based in Anderson, Indiana) is to strengthen and enhance the ministries of local congregations as they work to extend the kingdom of God through the Church of God.”

My question is, can anyone tell me how far the kingdom of God will be extended through the Church of God by the destruction of Warner Auditorium?

I'm Rick Blumenberg . . .
and that's My View from Tanner Creek.


Lloyd said...



I can understand your sentimentality toward Warner Auditorium and "Anderson Campmeeting". I'm having trouble, however, with some of your logic when you ask: "can anyone tell me how far the kingdom of God will be extended through the Church of God by the destruction of Warner Auditorium?"

True, the destruction of Warner Auditorium does not guarantee the further extension of the Kingdom of God. But, neither does retaining the dome or our annual gathering in Anderson. The building and location themselves have no real efficacy in mission. They are merely tools to a larger end.

I would argue nonetheless that tearing down the dome AND moving the NAC have a greater potential to move the Church of God out of its complacency and therefore get us focused on what really matters: our mission. The symbolism of these changes alone would be a tremendous first step in that direction.

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