Richmond Christian Center gets 4-month reprieve from sale

Jeremy Lazarus | 8/25/2017, 7:57 p.m.
The Richmond Christian Center has been given a four-month reprieve from the forced sale of its South Side sanctuary in ...
Richmond Christian Center at 214 Cowardin Ave. in South Side. Sandra Sellars/Richmond Free Press

During his tenure, RCC grew to one of the city’s largest churches, with an advanced social ministry that included a job placement service for ex-offenders and a housing and community development arm. Among other things, the church developed new homes near its sanctuary in a subdivision called Paradise Place that was one factor in the area’s turnaround.

But membership began to decline after Mr. Parson violated the teachings of his church by divorcing his wife. By the time RCC had filed for bankruptcy in 2013, membership had fallen below 400 members, a small fraction of the more than 2,000 to 3,000 members that had been on the rolls at its peak.

Since Mr. Parson was removed, RCC leaders have fought to regain solvency by renting out the campus to small businesses and other churches, as well as creating an events center in a fellowship hall.

Officials said the real problem is that the buildings are aging, and there is a backlog of maintenance that needs to be addressed to ensure basic services like air conditioning function properly.

While there is still no certainty that RCC can make it happen, officials said they are now in contact with other faith-based groups and hope that something can be worked out that will be a win-win for all sides before Judge Phillips rules that the property be sold.