First changes to former Heritage USA near completion
Aug. 14, 2006
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Thursday August 17, 2006
FORT MILL — MorningStar Fellowship Church soon will unveil the first of its completed restoration projects on the 52-acre Heritage International Ministries property, formerly a corner of Heritage USA.
Church founder Rick Joyner is restoring the property, which was owned and operated by Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s Praise the Lord ministry in the 1980s. He bought the property from developer Earl Coulston in 2004.
By Sept. 1, Joyner expects to have restored all 345 rooms, suites and office spaces of the Grand Hotel and finished the stores of the indoor market called Main Street.
The facility restorations will coincide with Coulston Enterprise’s expansion of Regent Parkway as a shortcut linking U.S. 21 to Pineville. Coulston is developing 1,000 acres of former PTL property into single-family home developments with retail businesses, restaurants and recreation.
Joyner, who calls Coulston a friend, hopes the restorations will attract visitors to both developments.
“We realize what a scar this property has been on the community,” Joyner said. “We want it to be a real positive blessing to the community.”
Most of the Grand’s hotel rooms will host attendees of the church’s monthly Christian conferences, while some rooms have been converted into apartments and larger suites for more permanent guests.
MorningStar Fellowship Church now holds weekly church services in the former lobby of the hotel.
The restored shops on Main Street won’t sell clothes as they did in the PTL days, Joyner said. Instead, they’ll be converted into Christian-oriented bookstores, art galleries and coffee shops. On the outside, a more business-like, all-brick facade has replaced the colorful, Disney-like design of the PTL days.
Other upgrades on the way
The conference center, with its dome-shaped roofs, should be finished in January and available for other ministries to reserve.
Joyner says restoration of the incomplete 21-story condominium tower could begin as soon as possible. He hopes to turn it into a retirement center.
MorningStar conference administrator Trevor Tiessen said engineers have examined the building and said previous claims that it was unstable are false. They are working with York County officials for permits and re-certification, he said.
As for the castle-like building that used to be a restaurant, Joyner wants to turn that into day-care facility, or a “little Narnia” as Joyner calls it.
Other ministries arriving
Multiple ministries have been attracted to the former PTL property and are leasing other facilities on the land some are calling “a place of refuge.”
In the former Wagon Wheel restaurant, a 24-hour “House of Prayer” has been set up by The Cause ministry. It operates in collaboration with the Zadok House of Prayer.
Kirk Bennett, director of Zadok House of Prayer, said the house is growing increasingly popular, attracting visitors from across the country.
“If you came in at 10 in the morning or two in the morning, there will be 10 to 15 people around the room praying,” Bennett said. “In a given day, there are probably 100 to 120 people coming in and out.”
Sixty full-time Zadok missionaries, many between the ages of 18 and 24, set up shop earlier this year and commit six hours a day each to praying. Bennett said the Lord led them to this place.
Sabrina Coulston operates the Flames of Fire ministry on 42 acres of property belonging to Coulston Enterprise.
Joyner says other ministries from across the nation are interested in collaborating with MorningStar as it renovates the property, despite its tenuous past.
“I think a lot of things that happened here helped to wake up and mature a lot of modern ministries,” Joyner said. “We hope this will be not only a ministry to the community, but a very positive reflection of the state of modern ministry.”
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