Heritage Ministries, the group that has sprung from the ruins of the former PTL ministry, has announced plans to move its television studios and church from the Heritage USA grounds in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Heritage president Sam Johnson said the ministry will move to a site in Charlotte, North Carolina, which is located “just minutes away” from Heritage USA.
In a letter sent to donors, Johnson said the move was prompted by the realization that the new owner of Heritage USA, Stephen Mernick, did not intend to sell them any part of the former PTL complex. Heritage Ministries has $5.5 million in donations in a “Save Heritage USA” escrow account and was hoping Mernick would sell them the satellite network, the cable programming, the studio, the camp sites, several ministry buildings, and enough land to build a church. Up until now, Heritage had been renting the facilities for $250,000 a month and staying on in hopes of buying.
Heritage will be moving to a church complex nearby, which Johnson said is ideally set up for their ministry, with an auditorium and studio for their daily “Heritage Today” television program, locations for inner-healing and marriage seminars, a site for 24-hour prayer counseling, and a place for Heritage Church services. In addition, the ministry is acquiring 113 acres of land situated between the old and new ministry sites for administrative offices and an eventual prayer and Bible conference center.
“We will return to our ‘first love’—not amusement parks and water slides, but leading the lost to Jesus Christ, building up the Body of Christ, and lifting up the name of Jesus across the earth,” Johnson said, referring to PTL’s emphasis on entertainment.
Johnson said Heritage Ministries can buy the new facilities and move in debt free for $8 million, and he asked donors for permission to use the “Save Heritage USA” money for this purpose. Johnson promised to refund the donations of those not in favor of the move. Heritage’s fund-raising efforts for the project will be made easier by the news that the Internal Revenue Service has granted the new ministry tax-exempt status.
Heritage Ministries has struggled to shed the image of the PTL ministry from which it emerged.
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