Filipino church feeds ex­pan­sion by buy­ing ghost town in US

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

In this July 12, 2017 photo, a sign and aban­doned house sit on the grounds of a long-aban­doned, 62-acre vil­lage in East Had­dam, Con­necti­cut. (AP) Over two decades, one prospec­tive buyer af­ter an­other passed over the aban­doned vil­lage in the Con­necti­cut coun­try­side. There were re­quire­ments to pre­serve its his­tor­i­cal char­ac­ter and prob­lems with the sep­tic sys­tem, not to men­tion ru­mors that it was haunted.

So when a Filipino church came for­ward and bought the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing col­lec­tion of Vic­to­rian-style build­ings last week, lo­cal of­fi­cials were elated the vil­lage would be saved from rot­ting away. An of­fi­cial with the church, Igle­sia Ni Cristo, says it is not daunted be­cause it has a history of re­pur­pos­ing shut­tered build­ings for its fast-grow­ing mem­ber­ship. “We pur­chase a lot of aban­doned wor­ship build­ings and re­store them,” said Joji Crisos­tomo, a district min­is­ter who over­sees 32 con­gre­ga­tions and mis­sions for the church in the north­east­ern US. “That way peo­ple can use them again to re­con­nect with God.”

The re­lief in East Had­dam has been mixed with cu­rios­ity over what ex­actly the church has planned for the com­mu­nity known as John­sonville, which was home to twine mills in the 19th cen­tury be­fore be­com­ing a tourist at­trac­tion in the 1960s. The church bought the 62acre prop­erty from a ho­tel group for $1.85 mil­lion. “I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing what they’re go­ing to do. Need­less to say, there’s al­ways a lit­tle ap­pre­hen­sion,” said Em­mett Ly­man, East Had­dam’s first se­lect­man. (AP)

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