A mega church is defined as a church that has 2,000 or more in average weekend attendance. All Peoples Church has a congregation of 900-1,000 adults, less than half of what is considered a mega church. It is common practice for churches to build a sanctuary larger than their average weekend service attendance. This provides an opportunity to gather the larger groups on important church holidays. A local example of a church of similar size is St. Therese Catholic Church in Del Cerro. St. Therese’s congregation is approximately 1,500 people and, pre-COVID, they conducted 3 services on Sunday of about 500-650 people each. The church has an 800-seat sanctuary and 350 additional seats in its Hall and Social Center. (St. Therese also has a K-8 school and a preschool.)
Myth: All Peoples Church currently has services on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at their current facility. They will do the same at the church in Del Cerro.
Fact: Prior to COVID, the church hosted four services on weekends (one on Saturday, three on Sunday) at the current facility because the building only accommodates 300 people. A larger sanctuary allows the church to accommodate their needs with fewer services.
Myth: They say they aren’t planning to open a school, but they can always open a school after getting approvals.
Fact: All Peoples Church does not plan to open a school.
Because All Peoples Church does not plan to open a school, and the traffic report was prepared with trip generation rate for a church without a school, the city will include a permit condition that would prevent a school or daycare on the site. The only way this could be changed would be for the church to go through another discretionary permit process to remove the permit condition. The church hosts two small group classes for adults that are referred to as “schools” because they are environments of learning. These meet in the evenings during the week, typically for less than four hours a week.
Myth: There will be services and hundreds of people seven days a week, not just on Sundays.
Fact: Activities at the site will be significantly dramatically lower during the week than on weekends.
The church is planning for services on Sunday to accommodate its congregation of 900-1000 adults. Weekday activities include church administration, bible study and church programs, youth and college-age groups, etc. which will range from approximately 20-100 participants.
Myth: Now that the City has allowed churches to build affordable housing on land they own, All People Church will provide housing for homeless people on their land in Del Cerro.
Fact: All Peoples Church is aware of the city ordinance that allows churches to be built with less parking than previously required in order to create affordable housing. All Peoples Church is committed to restoring the lives of those that are broken by homelessness. However, we have no plans to reduce the size of our parking lot to provide affordable housing or house homeless people on our property. We need our allotted spaces to support our worship services each weekend.
Myth: The Church wants to bring 70,000 college students to the project site.
Fact: All Peoples Church has a vibrant ministry to around 100 college students. In the time of COVID-19 that ministry consists of a few small groups. We want to be a spiritual community that embraces college students as they are in such a critical and formative time in their lives. We understand that gatherings at the Light Project site will be limited to the size and zoning constraints of the facility.
Myth: All Peoples Church is Anti-Semitic. All Peoples Church wants to convert the many Jewish People in Del Cerro into Christians.
Fact: All Peoples Church stands with Israel and Jewish people. All Peoples Church preaches against all racism and has publicly stood against anti-semitism. All Peoples Church donates finances to Jewish charities. All Peoples does not tell Jewish people that they need to convert to Christianity or leave Judaism, nor does it teach its congregants to convert Jews. While All Peoples Church preaches the message of the gospel lined out in the New Testament, the church firmly believes that each person should have the choice to adopt their own beliefs. All Peoples Church does recognize that throughout history there have been painful and hurtful actions caused by the Christian church towards the Jewish community. All Peoples Church desires to be an agent of healing and reconciliation with both Jewish communities at large as well as our immediate Jewish individual neighbors.
Myth: All Peoples Church practices illegal gay conversion therapy
Fact: All Peoples Church does not practice gay conversion therapy. While the church has orthodox Christian beliefs regarding sexuality and many other matters, All Peoples does not believe in forcing beliefs on anyone. The church does not exclude any population or target them for any reason. Our country is comprised of many different faiths and belief systems and this freedom to worship as one chooses is one of the things that makes our country unique, and it is protected as one of our most important freedoms. While some may disagree with a religious institution’s beliefs, this cannot be used as part of the decision-making process for a local land use matter.
Myth: This is a 50-foot building with an 11-foot cross.
Fact: More than 88% of the building is proposed to be between 33-35 feet. Three tower elements are between 41-48 feet at their high point. The proposed cross is 7-feet 7- inches tall and it would reach a high point of 52-feet 4-inches at the top of the cross. The proposed cross is a slender, steel cross used to delineate a church as a sacred space. It is not meant to be a community landmark.
Myth: The cross will be as big as those on Mt. Soledad and Mt. Helix.
Fact: The Mt. Helix cross is 35 feet, nearly 5 times the size of the cross proposed for All Peoples Church. The Mt. Soledad cross is 29 feet, 4 times the size of the proposed cross at the church.
Myth: Without the Light Project this would be public, open space.
Fact: : All Peoples will be required to submit a landscape plan to the city for the beautification and environmental consideration of the area. We believe the landscape plan will improve the appearance of the area. Also, adjacent land to the parcel, which runs parallel to Highway 8, will remain open space. This land is owned by the City of San Diego.
Myth: If the project is completed, there will be no more open space or landscaping on the site.
Fact: This parcel has always been private land, not open space. All Peoples Church purchased the land in a real estate transaction and has been working for two years with neighbors and community groups to bring forth a fitting church structure for the property.
Myth: The traffic study was conducted during the COVID crisis when most people have been home.
Fact: Traffic studies were conducted during April of 2019.
The traffic counts for the transportation impact analysis were conducted April 14 and April 16, 2019 (road segments) and April 16 and April 29, 2019 (intersections). This was prior to the COVID crisis. Both SDSU and Hearst Elementary were in session.
Myth: Because the location of the church is so close to the I-8 interchange, it will cause huge traffic jams.
Fact: The traffic study does not identify this as an impact.
Myth: The traffic from this project will make the area unsafe. School children and their parents may not be able to safely and timely arrive and depart from school.
Fact: Traffic generated from the project during the week will be significantly less than on days when services are hosted, and it will not occur during peak times, such as school drop off and pick up times.
Myth: City reviewers commented that “Due to the project’s location next to a major interstate there is a potential land use compatibility conflict and significant impact of traffic noise.” Removing vegetation in this area will increase noise for adjacent residents.
Fact: The City’s Environmental reviewer has reviewed the noise study and has no further issue with noise. The study identified a potential temporary noise impact from construction noise, but no other impact.
PURCHASE OF HOUSE AT 5688 MARNE AVE.
Myth: The church purchased the house on Marne Avenue in secret in a cash transaction. It is part of their strategy to get approvals through the City.
Fact: The church did not purchase the home on Marne Avenue. It was purchased by a member of the church who is also a part of the church’s project team. It was not “done in secret,” it was a legal transaction and information about the sale is part of the public record. The owner of the house plans to lease out the property.
Myth: The church plans to use this to provide another access point to the property.
Fact: The church is not planning to seek another access to the property from Marne Avenue. There is a potential that an underground easement could be granted by the property owner to the church for sewer access, but this is not determined at this time, and this would have no effect on adjacent properties.
Myth: The church has not been transparent during this review process and they have not communicated with the community.
Fact: All Peoples Church has been publicly working with the community and the City on this project since the summer of 2018. Since that time, the church has participated in fourteen meetings with community groups including the Navajo Community Planners, the Navajo Community Planners Subcommittee, and the Del Cerro Action Council. In addition, the church has hosted four meetings with adjacent neighbors to discuss issues specific to their properties. The project has completed three rounds of review with City staff and is about to submit for a fourth review. All of the plans and cycle review comments are provided to the Navajo Community Planners and are available for the public to review upon request.
You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.