Though LGBT lobbyists complained about traffic concerns, the San Diego City Council approved evangelist Morris Cerullo's religious retreat.
"We are excited and thrilled that the San Diego City Council has approved the Legacy project to move forward. We are also humbled by the incredible outpouring of support that we have received from the Local San Diego faith community, and from national and international faith leaders the past few weeks! Thank you hardly seems adequate, so we pray that our gracious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will bless you for your faithful prayers, calls, and letters of support on behalf of the Legacy Center," Cerullo and his wife say.
Last month, the City Council resoundingly rejected the $160 million Legacy Center, with five Democrats bending their ears to complaints of a spokeswoman for the San Diego LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest and other critics.
However, the anti-religious sentiment backfired and pushed Council members to approve the plan this week.
"We can't take into consideration a lot of this ancillary discussion about religion and values. We should not be using that as a benchmark for whether it's allowed. What's important is whether it meets guidelines set forth by the city, and I believe it does," Councilman Scott Sherman told the San Diego Union Tribune. "We have property rights and it's very important we don't abridge those property rights, especially when it comes to matters of religious organizations."
As Charisma News previously reported, Cerullo's $160 million retreat was slated to open in 2019. According to a statement, the project was designed by the noted San Diego architectural firm of Carrier Johnson Plus Culture in conjunction with Dr. Morris Cerullo, the center's patron. The 18-acre hotel complex will offer spa services and luxury accommodations to the public. Its event center, fully-equipped with a lecture and performing arts hall, a 500-seat theater and a restaurant with catering services, will allow visiting groups and the local community to hold receptions and special events.
The Legacy International Center will also function as a compelling tourist attraction, immersing hotel guests into biblical and international-themed exhibits. A massive digital globe, installed at the heart of the Welcome Center, will display the geopolitical and religious composition of each country, while the history dome—a 100-motion seat visual experience with a 57-foot dome ceiling—will transport guests through an aerial journey of Israel and the Bible story. The center will also include a state-of-the-art teaching and training facility for local and remote training, the statement continues.
"Prayer is the key. If God be for us, who can be against us? I've certainly witnessed in my years in ministry that no great breakthrough ever happened without conflict. Throughout Scripture, conflict created the circumstances where God's glory could be revealed. I believe that to be true now more than ever. So we are praying throughout this process that God's glory is magnified and revealed. We are believing that God will have the last word, and it will be good," Jim Penner, executive director of the Legacy Center, says.
"I've witnessed once again through this process that God is good, all the time. In the midst of any storm, one only needs to look up. The psalmist said it best, "I will lift my eyes to the hills from whence comes my help. My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!" Penner says.
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