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  1. Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Tatayo sila ng Republic of Manalo sa US...

    Future unknown for SD ghost town bought by church - Yahoo! News

    SCENIC, S.D. (AP) The saloon is long empty. The roadside jail cells, rusted and worn. Even the swing sets peek from behind knee-high brush after decades of neglect.

    This tiny exclave just west of South Dakota's badlands is officially an old ghost town. But its future is shrouded in new mystery.

    "We don't know what's coming," said Kathy Jobgen, 50, the only employee remaining at the only business still in town: the U.S. Post Office.

    The town of Scenic once a popular stop for people traveling to Rapid City from the badlands to the east or Pine Ridge Reservation to the south was recently purchased by an unusual buyer for less than $800,000. The Iglesia ni Cristo church, established in the Philippines in 1914, bought the town and surrounding acreage from longtime resident and area rodeo legend Twila Merrill, who had gathered the land bit by bit over several decades.

    The church isn't divulging its plans for the property. A person answering the phone at its offices in Daly City, Calif., said he couldn't share any information, as did staffers of church spokesman Bienvenido Santos.

    "They've got a non-disclosure agreement, and I'm a signatory to that," said David Olsen, the real-estate agent who represented Merrill's family in the sale.

    He was only comfortable offering bits of detail the saloon and other boarded-up buildings still standing along Main Street will stay, he said but he said he couldn't give specifics.

    "The gas station will be open for business again soon enough," said Olsen, of Coldwell Banker in Rapid City. The church purchasers are "interested in it being a benefit to the community."

    The church, which translates in the language Tagalog to Church of Christ, has been steadily spreading west since it was founded in the Philippines by Felix Manalo, a former minister of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church who experienced what he claimed to be a call similar to those of ancient prophets. He died in 1963.

    Often described as one of the fastest-spreading international religions, its foothold in the Philippines grew from about 1.4 million followers in 1990 to 1.7 million in 2000, according to the 2011 figures released by the National Statistics Office in Manila.

    Iglesia ni Cristo rejects the Christian doctrine of trinity and believes Christ is one of several prophets. The church is focused on the end times, believes Manalo is a prophet and considers the Catholic Church apostate.

    It has a divisive reputation. The church's backing has been viewed as crucial in Filipino presidential elections, and it has been accused of organizing bloc voting in that country. It also is known for its secrecy, rarely commenting on its activities.

    So far, there has been no church activity in Scenic to hint at what's to come no construction permits sought or development plans presented to the county. The lack of information surrounding the sale has some neighbors uneasy and rumors are circulating among the scattering of residents.

    "They bought it sight unseen," said Shirley Kudrna, whose father-in-law was born on a ranch about seven miles east of Scenic in 1916.

    "Some people say maybe they're a cult," said her father-in-law, Tony Kudrna, 95, who has lived on the ranch nearly his whole life.

    The church has expanded to more than 5,000 congregations in the Philippines, and more than 600 abroad in more than 60 countries and territories, according to the Manila Times. It has held neighborhood events to praise the hospitality of the communities where it has purchased land to build homes and churches, including Los Angeles, Orlando, and Union County, N.J.

    Other congregations are established nationwide in more than 40 states, according to the church's website. Dozens are listed in California, 10 in Washington, 12 in Texas and seven in New York.

    Jobgen said she's hopeful the church will make for a good neighbor.

  2. Join Date
    Mar 2004

    So we now know where the heavens will open up and scoop up the selected few for salvation!

  3. Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Maybe they'll put up an Iglesia theme park. :seesaw:

  4. Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Malapit iyan sa one of the biggest (if not the biggest) volcano in the world...


  5. Join Date
    Jul 2004
    it's scenic versus nashville

Iglesia buys US Ghost Town.