Greg J. Dixon

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The Persecution of a CHURCH for the Needy/Hungry: Its Birth, Its Rise & Fall

The Persecution of a CHURCH for the Needy/Hungry: Its Birth, Its Rise & Fall

This fascinating true story began in 1997 when Pastor Wiley Drake of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park California began inviting the homeless and hungry to his church. Dr. Drake was the 2nd Vice-President of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2007 and The Vice--Presidential Candidate for the American Independent Party for the State of California in 2008. The City of Buena Park had basically pulled the plug on the homeless and when they had no place to go, they asked Dr. Drake if they could sleep on the church breeze way which he gave permission.  When the weather turned cold he allowed them to come inside and sleep on the church pews. 

Not long after the crowd grew in great numbers as many were fed, clothed, mentored, and cleaned up both spiritually and physically. Medical supplies were provided for the sick, free laundry, showers, haircuts and a fresh resume helped many get back on their feet as they regained their lives back again. The church was thriving to its best ability until the city stepped in and told the Pastor that he could no longer house the homeless inside his church building. At that time they were sleeping inside the sanctuary, and it became apparent that those arrangements were against city codes.

Prosecuting Attorney Gregory P. Palmer headed up the investigation into what Christians and the Bible calls "the persecution" of a Christian organization. Pastor Wiley Drake was found guilty in a court of law for not kicking the homeless out of his church and into the streets. He boldly accepted his guilty verdict as he confidently chose to keep them safe in his sanctuary. That sanctuary is located at 6801 Western Ave Buena Park, Ca

On the day of his verdict, the judge had mercy on him and chose NOT to jail the Baptist Pastor for 6 months, nor fine him $1000, but instead sent him back to his own church to serve community time. 

Then a miracle happened, and a BIG one it was. Mayor Patsy Marshall suggested First Southern Baptist Church build an external building that would comply with the city codes so they could continue their Homeless & Hungry Ministry. That was a great idea but the church had little to no money as it had given away its excess to help the needy. That same week an architect from the Hollywood area was sent by God to help the church construct the external building. This architect happened to own a modular home business. He offered to donate a handful of modulars to the Baptist Church of which began immediately. The modulars  were then  united as one big building in order to house many under one roof. That  modular structure was then approved by the city of Buena Park and all codes were passed. That following week the new building was filled up and the place had a new name, "Church Fair Church". It was under the umbrella of the First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park and proudly held a cross on its rooftop. But there was a catch, the Buena Park city only gave it a temporary construction permit. So each year the Church would pay the fees to keep the permit and it seemed as though there would be no further issues. 20 years passed and many precious people of all ages, cultures and gender turned their lives around from homeless to happy, from bondage to Bible reading, from addicts to advocates for Christ and from broke to blessed. It was the break that they needed to get back on their feet.

2017 began the latest chapter of that building which God had provided for those who were willing to turn their messes into miracles. The city of Buena Park decided that the building would no longer pass city codes and demanded by court order that the people housed inside, had 10 days to vacate. The next order stated the church had 30 days to level or demolish the building. The church refused to do either. As a man named Camacho and the Chief of Police Corey Sinaze pushed the issue, the church stood their ground until 25 police officers arrived one crisp morning in February 2017 to red tag, board up the building, and plan its demise. Two organizations offered to pay to upgrade the building to meet city code but the city would not approve of any upgrading. Threats of arrest were made that morning as children were crying for their dolls and toys, as the homeless and hungry were put on the streets once again.

The City Council told the church to sell the property and suggested the Pastor retire. The Pastor said, until GOD has him retire, that church would always be the same. No government authority would dictate a Godly place.  On April 30, 2017, at 6pm a funeral service for that building was held at the First Southern Baptist Church in memory of all the people that had been housed between its walls and under its caring roof. The cross which rose above its rooftop was the only thing remaining. The Sunday School teacher who has supported the Church for over 20 years, Will Ruffin carried that big cross into the service and thanked God for all HE had done under its care. Twenty  years after the "Church Fair Church" building was erected, it was torn down by the same hands that approved its stand. Just as Jesus Christ was reigned as KING on Palm Sunday by hundreds or possibly thousands of followers...those same people cried crucify Him a week later and deserted the scene.

Christians are not above their Master Jesus Christ. They persecuted Him and they will continue to persecute Christians all over this earth.

The people of First Southern Baptist Church are now seeking God for the people and resources to build a brand new building in that same spot so that amazing Church Fair Church building which helps the homeless and hungry will rise again, and thrive again, just like our Master Christ did for all mankind.

The questions of course, will the city give the permit to rebuild even if they are able to raise the funds? The City of Buena Park has destroyed this homeless ministry for the time being, but they have not destroyed the Lord's church, it is continuing on.  We pray that the homeless ministry will continue on as well.

By

Gabriell Hope

Bro. Wiley can be contacted at: wileywiley@att.net

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