Christian Church Donates Building to City

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This year, Pastor Jonathan Miller, Sr. Pastor of New Beginnings Healing Center and Jonathan Miller Ministries donated its former building, located in Defiance, Ohio to the City of Defiance. "Its an honor for us to make this gift," stated New Beginnings Healing Center Pastor Jonathan Miller, who moved his ministry to the Orlando, Florida area in September 2006. "I grew up in that church and have a lot of memories".

A Defiance church has donated its Downtown property to the City of Defiance, it was announced Monday by Mayor Bob Armstrong.

The property located at 319 Wayne Ave., is currently owned by the New Beginnings Healing Center, Inc.

"This is a very generous contribution and we are extremely grateful to the New Beginnings Healing Center congregation," said Armstrong. "Its a great opportunity and a wonderful gift."

"Its an honor for us to make this gift," stated New Beginnings Healing Center Pastor Jonathan Miller, who moved his ministry to the Orlando, Florida area in September. "I grew up in that church and have a lot of memories."

Defiance has been good to our family and I could not think of a better thing than to give it to the city," he stated. I talked to our board and congregation and everyone felt good about it."

"We could have left it on the market and it would have sold eventually," added Becki Miller, Jonathan's mother and a former pastor of the church. "But its a Downtown building and I think the city can use it. We love the city of Defiance and we want it to be a blessing to them."

"I've already talked to Rita Kissner (Main Street Revitalization committee member and former mayor), Cindy Mack (tourism director) and Randy Buchman (city historian)," said Armstrong. "They all expressed positive comments."

Armstrong said the city has not yet decided how the building will be used.

"The building appears to be structurally sound, at least at first glance," said Armstrong. "There's a lot of grant funds out there available for the restoration of a historical building like this. I could see DCTV and the tourism bureau offices located in the basement at some point down the road. Randy's office may also have a future use for it."

A house of worship has been located on the northwest corner of Third Street and Wayne Avenue since 1852, when a wooden frame structure was built by the First Baptist Church. Due to continued growth, the congregation decided to construct a new brick building at the same location in 1892.

The cornerstone of the current church was laid during the Fort Defiance centennial celebration on August 7, 1894, by Gov. William McKinley, who later became President of the United States.

"We've been having services there since 1980," said Jonathan Miller. We assumed the indebtedness from Bethel Christian Assembly, which had purchased the property from First Baptist in the late 1970's."

Miller, a 1998 graduate of Defiance High School, became senior pastor at the age of 20. He and his wife, Cristina, sold their Defiance home and have relocated New Beginnings to Orlando.

"We're going great guns here in Florida," Miller said Monday afternoon. "We have many hundreds of people coming every Sunday and hope to start our television ministry by February."

Miller said the transaction can be finalized after the title work and deed preparation is completed by city law director Dave Williams.

"This is a prime downtown location within walking distance to everywhere," said Armstrong "Hopefully, we will come up with a good use. Everyone I talked to said they don't want to make it a parking lot."

By Jack Palmer
palmer (at) cresent-news.com

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