We have been a denominational church for many years. It is a good denomination, and we stand with them in all our foundational beliefs. However, over the last few years, the denominational priorities have made it increasingly difficult and financially unfeasible to fulfill our mission and responsibility to the local area and needs to which God has called us. We believe after Jesus, our first commitment must be to the area where we live and serve. We attempted to dialogue and mutually negotiate over the last few years, but the gap between us actually widened. In August the Cornerstone Church congregation voted overwhelmingly to discontinue denominational membership, and become an independent congregation for the sake of the mission. We believe that the kingdom of God, and bringing people into it, is bigger than denominational loyalty. So though we loved the denomination and agree with their doctrine, we could no longer work within their structure and polity and feel clear in our hearts about our responsibility to the community.
Our former denomination, like many denominations, has a policy that all church deeds have a trust clause claim, stating that the building belongs to the denomination, not the local congregation. Despite our desire to pay the remainder of our building loan to our denomination, and additional money billed to us, in exchange for keeping the property and additions we have paid for since 1984, the denomination has chosen to exercise their claim, refusing our request. Of course, news spreads and people hear all kinds of truth and fiction mixed together. Everyone who hears it is asking, “How can they do that? Can’t we fight it?” Yes, we can. In fact, we have had very competent and affirmative legal advice from a variety of experienced attorneys. The trust clause has been challenged many times and been overturned many times. However, the Bible is very clear in I Corinthians 6 that believers are not supposed to take other Christians to court, that it is a bad witness to the name of Christ. So, our Leadership Board has chosen not to initiate a court battle, but to just let denominational polity have its way, and trust God with our future. As a simple matter of information, the trust clause was not included on the deed to our Mogadore property, and that campus will not be affected.
Are we are disappointed?
Of course, but we are not discouraged. This is just a building. A very special building, yes. But it is just bricks and mortar. The CHURCH is the PEOPLE and the relationships that have been built among those people. We have kept everything that is most important—the presence of God and his people. That makes my heart full and happy!
So, what does all this mean for us?
It means our last day to worship in the Killian Rd. building is Sunday, October 29. We will have all three regular services that day, and then at 6 o’clock in the evening, we will have an all-church praise service, sharing testimonies of how God has moved in us and grown us in that location, thanking God for his goodness, and believing him for the future.
Our new Portage Lakes Campus location is Coventry Elementary School at 3089 Manchester Rd. Our first time to worship there together will be Sunday, November 5. On this day only we will have our three regular services at 9, 10:30 AM & 12 PM to celebrate and dedicate this new space and place together in our journey to God. It will be a super day!
To be clear, if you see a group meeting on Killian Rd. at our former location any day or time after Sunday, October 29, it will NOT be Cornerstone Church. You will find the Cornerstone you know at Coventry Elementary every week at our regular times from November 5 on.
For decades in this location, Cornerstone has been helping people find the Father, a Family, and a Fulfilling Future.
In recent months, so many new, wonderful people have become part of the Cornerstone experience. And I am confident—our best days are ahead of us, not behind us! God will work it all out for our good and his glory. We will continue to serve the community and world we love, as we always have.
We are ready to have you join us in the adventure ahead.
We are saving a place just for you.