Parishioners at the Living Enrichment Center on Sunday were told they'll be trading in their 90-acre Wilsonville digs, complete with bookstore and coffee shop, for a Beaverton movie theater.
The move, scheduled for next month, is actually a return trip of sorts for the financially struggling congregation. The church met in the Beaverton Valley Theater in the early '90s, before its move to Wilsonville. The step back was necessitated by a $20 million debt (see "The Prophet Margin," WW, May 19, 2004). According to the Rev. Dr. Mary Manin Morrissey and other church officials, that debt was cut in half last month, when the owner of the Wilsonville property took it back, wiping away $10.2 million owed to him.
What has happened to the property remains--like faith itself--a mystery. Church officials repeatedly have told the congregation it had been sold, forcing them to leave by June 30. But the owner, J.T. Watamull, told the Wilsonville Spokesman in mid-May that the property has not been sold. And Watamull, who declined to speak with WW last week, told the Spokesman that the church wasn't being evicted.
Morrissey wasn't around to clear things up. She was in Rome last week hanging with His Holiness again. (That's a reference to her connection with the Dalai Lama, not both him and the pope, as WW erroneously reported in its May 19 cover story.) She's expected to return in time to help her church move later this month.