Santa Ana to Mars Hill Orange County: You Don't Have to Go Home, But You Gots to Get Up Outta Here
The city of Santa Ana has served the congregation, which meets Sundays at The Observatory, an eviction notice, according to church leaders, who say a deadline has not yet been given.
Building and planning officials with the city say Mars Hill needs to find a new spot to sing praises to the Lord, because the venue is not in a zone designed for churches.
Jay Trevino, Santa Ana's executive director of the Planning and Building Agency, reportedly told The Christian Post that the city welcomes Mars Hill, but the fellowship is "conducting a church under our zoning ordinance. Churches aren't allowed in that zoning district, but are allowed in many other zoning districts."
Church leaders aren't exactly happy with the city's answers, so they are looking to God, and lawyers, to provide some. Pastor Mark Driscoll, founder of the Seattle-based network of Mars Hill churches, said on a video posted to the church's website that the concert venue gets packed out on Sundays, and there are no traffic or parking problems.
"So, we're not exactly sure what the problem is," Driscoll said. "We've been asking and the truth is we're not getting a lot of answers."
Driscoll said the church has hired lawyers to look into the matter, and "if we do find that we're just getting bullied by a political discriminatory agenda against Christianity and the church, we'll hold our ground. If we find out as well that it's just somebody on a council somewhere with an axe to grind against Christianity, we'll hold our ground.
And if we do, in fact, find that somehow we're violating laws and rules that don't make a lot of sense to us, then we'll obey the governing authorities like the Scriptures say."
Pastor Nick Bogardus, who planted Mars Hill Orange County at the venue in October, with eye toward finding a permanent location, reportedly told the Christian Post that the church, which has grown from roughly 200 members to about 600, is willing to worship in a park or at the beach if it has to.
In the meantime, the church is fasting and praying for answers every Wednesday.
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