Golden Gate subdivision

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Golden Gate subdivision

Postby BTeditor » Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:55 am

Bruce linked an interesting story http://www.marinij.com/tiburonbelvedere/ci_19564223 at baptiststoday.org about Golden Gate Seminary wanting to turn the Bay Area campus into a subdivision. I recall a meeting of SBC execs and editors some 15 years or so ago there. Administrators kept pounding on two messages: 1. This is a fabulous piece of real estate (and it is). 2. We are taking our classes to Southern California, Colorado and elsewhere to compensate for declining on-campus enrollment.
No one spoke about the disconnect there. I guess selling the campus setting to prospective students wasn't as attractive as selling parts of the campus.
If local authorities approve this plan, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Will future homeowners be required to sign a faith statement? Can they enjoy fruit of vine from nearby Napa without risking their mortgages? Will key SBC leaders get vacation homes... you know, the usually stuff.
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Re: Golden Gate subdivision

Postby Gene Scarborough » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:21 am

That is MORE THAN FUNNY!!!! :wink: :D :lol:

I went past the site years ago and it is beautiful as it overlooks the bay from the north.

Do I understand the property was a gift or some very low price for us to have a seminary present on the West Coast?

It appears the money talks to the current SBC leadership over providing good educational opportunities to preachers wanting solid training-----BUT that went away at SEBTS some 20 years ago!!!!!

Best I can tell we now produce social judges intent on being the church boss rather than the Servant Pastor I was taught to become when I graduated SEBTS in 1970. They have been most instrumental in taking over NC / kicking out churches who minster to homosexuals / now getting on churches calling female pastors.

It's so so much better now that we are winning people right and left to-----Christ or CR judgementalism and mega churches?
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Re: Golden Gate subdivision

Postby Gene Scarborough » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:04 am

Seminary President Jeff Iorg has called the plan beneficial for both the seminary and the community. He is expected to outline the project in detail for those attending Monday's planning session.

The new residential neighborhoods would include nine four-bedroom homes and 65 three-bedroom flats, townhomes and cottages.

The proposal "matches vested entitlements, current zoning and the Marin Countywide Plan," according to HartMarin. Developer Hart said his firm has a "mission to improve the social condition while protecting the environment ... with the highest level of financially sensible green development practices." Its many other clients include Spirit Rock in Woodacre and the San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo.

The Marin Economic Forum, a countywide business group, examined the construction plan and concluded it would generate $125 million in new business revenue, 866 jobs and more than $5 million in one-time state and local taxes. In addition, the sales of new homes would generate more than 70 jobs, $10 million in business revenue and $1 million in taxes.

Further, "The ongoing impact from new property taxes is more than 39 new jobs, $2 million in new revenue and more than $1.1 million in new tax revenue," the forum said.


Translation: Paige Patterson and Miss Dorothy will get the biggest and highest place and be the co-presidents of the Home Owners Association.

Al Mohler and his lovely wife will be in charge of the locked gates to be sure no "immoral or perverted activities take place---especially no gays in here--nor anyone who has had an abortion."

Other special deals will be available to certain people--yet to be named--who make sure the SBC does not return to its former wicked ways. Mega church pastors will be provided with tax-exempt housing paid for by their churches. These are only second homes overlooking the Bay, but we will find a way of compliance with IRS Housing Allowance codes---no matter how shady they might be.

We made a slight mistake on our tax increase estimates. Didn't take into consideration the tax-exempt benefits!!!! OOOPS! :gavel: :angel:
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Re: Golden Gate subdivision

Postby KeithE » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:52 am

I've been to that Seminary and the view of San Francisco is absolutely gorgeous. Much money can be raised by selling it off.

Marin County is perhaps the most liberal county in America. Colorado Springs and Orange County California are bastions of conservatism (like the SBC).

Seminaries are not primarily for influencing it's local community. Their mission is the world or at least the SBC all over America.

So in terms of cash and enrollment, the move makes sense and is without much loss of mission.
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Re: Golden Gate subdivision

Postby Gene Scarborough » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:35 am

Kieth---

In years past your statement about no influence in the local community would apply----HOWEVER---one of the first things our friend Paige Patterson did was to get one of his faculty members running for the Town Council in little Wake Forest!

It was a major source of contention with the town. It had a definite ulterior motive, but Wake Forest is typical south where Marin County is "escapees from anything southern conservative."

You give me a good idea for a screenplay along the lines of the Gospel Blimp. Were Paige there, I'm sure someone would be investigating the cost of a blimp to fly all over metro San Francisco dropping candy out with gospel wrappers / a sound system blairing gospel music / all the other obnoxious things of Gospel Blimping!!! Joseph Bailey wrote the story.
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Re: Golden Gate subdivision

Postby Sandy » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:04 pm

The seminary isn't moving, it is simply rezoning its current property to utilize the undeveloped acreage. Strawberry Point, where the seminary is located, was one of the sites selected for the original United Nations building. When they chose New York, the property became available and I don't remember whether someone bought it and gave it to the SBC, or whether they bought it. At the time, there wasn't anything around there. Now, of course, it is some of the most valuable real estate in the country.

When I was considering seminary, I thought about Golden Gate, since it was a little closer to home than Ft Worth was. But even though the tuition and fees were subsidized by the SBC, some of the other costs related to living in Marin County made it impractical for me to consider. That has always been a factor in enrollment there. With branch campuses and online coursework available, their enrollment has grown, but there is no longer a need to hold on to land saved for expansion of the Mill Valley campus. Why not sell off some of it and raise revenue?

The Bay Area in general is "liberal" collectively. However, there are some thriving SBC churches in Marin County, and in San Francisco itself. The seminary's presence opens the door for students to be involved in church planting and other ministries. Ethnic and language churches, which is the fastest growing category of churches in the SBC, are doing well there. I'm sure having the seminary nearby helps.
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Re: Golden Gate subdivision

Postby Gene Scarborough » Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:08 am

Sandy---

I have never heard how we came about owning such a lovely site for a Seminary. If anyone knows more details, I would love to hear it.

I grew up in Atlanta and many people call it "Hotlanta" for all the wild living present there now.

Actually, when your religion is based on culture and conservatism of such, it's hard not to be critical when a yankee / gay couple / hippie / black activist moves into the neighorhood. Add to that, people who have immigrated here. Now there are sections of Atlanta where there are no business signs in English. It used to be a Baptist-Methodist-Presbyterian place in the 50's. Now add B'hai / Moslem / Buddhist / to most any religion in the world.

My experience at Emory and in Sociology taught me societies are different and their social rules can be miles apart---BUT all have a spiritual aspect / control of behaviour / trying to find lawfulness that keeps people from killing one another. Despite all this, all cultures have their tensions and fights.

The more you pile manure in one spot instead of spread around the field-----the more it stinks! :oops:
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Re: Golden Gate subdivision

Postby KeithE » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:28 am

Sandy wrote:The seminary isn't moving, it is simply rezoning its current property to utilize the undeveloped acreage. Strawberry Point, where the seminary is located, was one of the sites selected for the original United Nations building. When they chose New York, the property became available and I don't remember whether someone bought it and gave it to the SBC, or whether they bought it. At the time, there wasn't anything around there. Now, of course, it is some of the most valuable real estate in the country.

When I was considering seminary, I thought about Golden Gate, since it was a little closer to home than Ft Worth was. But even though the tuition and fees were subsidized by the SBC, some of the other costs related to living in Marin County made it impractical for me to consider. That has always been a factor in enrollment there. With branch campuses and online coursework available, their enrollment has grown, but there is no longer a need to hold on to land saved for expansion of the Mill Valley campus. Why not sell off some of it and raise revenue?

The Bay Area in general is "liberal" collectively. However, there are some thriving SBC churches in Marin County, and in San Francisco itself. The seminary's presence opens the door for students to be involved in church planting and other ministries. Ethnic and language churches, which is the fastest growing category of churches in the SBC, are doing well there. I'm sure having the seminary nearby helps.

The Seminary should consider selling it's entire campus, imo - makes it more attractive/valuable to developers.

Another reason is the cost to seminarians - Marin County is not cheap living and most SBC seminarians would be far from home. IMO, it's enrollment would be higher in it were in say Colorado Springs or Los Angeles or say Albuquerque or Seattle (if they want to keep a Western location).

I went to search SBC churches in the Bay Area and there were 85 of them within 25 miles of SF - probably more than 200 in the whole Bay Area (10 in Marin County). That is much more than I thought. Having grown up in San Mateo County just south of SF, I do not remember any explicitly Southern Baptist churches and not a very high plurality of Baptist churches. Times can change and I was probably not tuned into Baptist churches at that time.

And the Bay Area is liberal ( I know many on you are saying that explains me! - it doesn't). Here is list of the 20 most liberal counties - 5 of them in the Bay Area, many of the others are where major universities are.
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Re: Golden Gate subdivision

Postby Sandy » Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:14 am

I'm sure there is information somewhere as to how the SBC came to acquire Strawberry Point. All I know is that the property came available after the UN decided on New York. I think that some of the property had already been subdivided and sold before the campus was constructed.

Golden Gate has a need for a campus in the Bay Area, but I would agree that selling off the current campus would be a good financial move, since the revenue generated would be more than adequate for purchasing property and relocating into an area that is nearby, but much less expensive, such as the southern end of the Oakland area, or San Jose, which has one of California's lowest costs of living. There are a few transplanted Southerners who go out there because of the schools missions education reputation but for the most part, the student body comes from relatively close by in California, the Northwest and the far west. A lot of the SBC's numerical growth and new church planting work is happening in California, Nevada and Arizona, and up into Washington and Oregon, and the churches there have gotten beyond growth by chasing down people in cars with Mississippi and Alabama license plates. The seminary's presence is a key element in what is happening in SBC churches in the Bay Area.
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Re: Golden Gate subdivision

Postby Gene Scarborough » Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:10 pm

If "church planting" is nothing more than providing a Dixie Bar and Grill for Southerners, then I'm afraid we are on the wrong track!

Southern culture has the same quirks as California "liberal culture." We hate queers and SF is full of them. We hate immigrants and SF is full of orientals trying to find a land of opportunity.

So are we there to promote red neck conservatism or the Gospel of Jesus Christ?????

Turf wars are nothing but a recreation of the Great Crusades = confess your faith or off with your head!!!!!
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Re: Golden Gate subdivision

Postby Sandy » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:45 pm

Gene Scarborough wrote:If "church planting" is nothing more than providing a Dixie Bar and Grill for Southerners, then I'm afraid we are on the wrong track!

Southern culture has the same quirks as California "liberal culture." We hate queers and SF is full of them. We hate immigrants and SF is full of orientals trying to find a land of opportunity.

So are we there to promote red neck conservatism or the Gospel of Jesus Christ?????

Turf wars are nothing but a recreation of the Great Crusades = confess your faith or off with your head!!!!!


Gene, I grew up in a Southern Baptist church in the west, in Arizona which is one of the most diverse states, from a cultural perspective, in the country. People have moved there from all over the place, predominantly from the upper Midwest and the Northeast, to escape the winter weather, and from California, to escape the high cost of living. Southerners also moved there, though they are a smaller component of the population. Southern Baptist work there dates back to the 1920's. It largely involved planting churches for transplanted Southerners who didn't want to be part of the liberal American Baptist churches. By the time I was growing up, in the 60's and 70's, the pattern of Southern Baptist church growth and planting was firmly established. I like your analogy of providing a "Dixie Bar and Grill" because that is exactly what it was. At Grand Canyon University, which was the state's only fully accredited Christian university, and affiliated with Southern Baptists, we used to laugh about growing churches by chasing down people with Texas and Mississippi license plates.

But over time, that changed. The hard realities of small churches trying to scratch out an existence forced a change of attitude. Gradually, the Southern bred leadership was replaced with people who were born and raised in the west, and trained at the SBC schools in the region. The Arizona convention expanded its work into Colorado, Nevada, Utah and up into Idaho, Montana and the Dakotas. They shared information with each other. They learned from missionaries returning from the field about cultural translation of the gospel. The schools--Grand Canyon in Arizona, California Baptist in the LA area, and Golden Gate, had a lot to do with helping churches reach people from the wide variety of cultures that exist. Arizona had a major financial setback with the ponzi scandal at the Baptist Foundation about a decade ago, but that served to open a lot of people's eyes, and led to the removal of the last vestiges of the old, Southern aristocratic leadership.

There's a lot of huffing and puffing over the SBC's leadership in Nashville. But Nashville is a long, long way from San Francisco, or Phoenix, or Seattle. And while the leadership of the SBC fits really well with the Southern culture that produced it, they have a very realistic view of what it takes to plant churches and do evangelism in California and the West, and convention politics is generally not involved. The SBC churches in the west are as conservative as those in the South, in some cases more so. But while SBC baptisms and membership have plateaued in the Deep South, they are growing in places like the Bay Area, LA, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson, Portland, Seattle, Denver and even Salt Lake City. Golden Gate has played a major role in that.
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Re: Golden Gate subdivision

Postby William Thornton » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:53 am

Well, the seminary administration and developer got waxed at the recent public hearing on changes to earlier approved plans (a story you can find on Baptist Today's daily news feed, here). I believe I recall the school selling off some parcels earlier.

I don't know why it wouldn't be advantageous to sell the whole thing, take the money and go to a less costly area and start over.

One of the drags on the Cooperative Program - you know, the main SBC funding brand that churches have sliced in half over the past 30 years ago - is the huge costs of the six seminaries. All that real estate. All those administrative positions multiplied by six. Now that the seminaries are educating students through a bushelfull of sattelites and distance learning sites, why overlay that on the legacy expenses of the six campuses?

...but then, it was a seminary president who complained of the SBC's "bloated bureaucracies" holding back a Great Commission resurgence. Guess he meant someone else's bloated bureaucracies, since the seminaries escaped the GCR process unscathed.
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Re: Golden Gate subdivision

Postby Ed Pettibone » Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:29 pm

William writes, "the (SBC) seminaries escaped the GCR process unscathed".

Ed: Of course that comes from a fellow who never attended a SBC recognized seminary.
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Re: Golden Gate subdivision

Postby Sandy » Sun Dec 25, 2011 9:14 pm

I think William is speaking of the Great Commission Resurgence, the term coined a couple of years back and enacted with a task force that recommended the sweeping organizational changes at NAMB. No real budget or organizational changes occurred which affected the seminaries.

Among the six SBC seminaries, Golden Gate and New Orleans have the most extensive off-campus center operations. Schools need to be accessible to their students, and flexible in the way they deliver curriculum. I don't know how necessary or efficient a "central campus" operation is anymore. Golden Gate has a unique problem in that the value of the property on which it sits is quite high, but selling the whole thing might not generate that much more in income, to make it more efficient than simply keeping their facility and operating with the extra money produced by the sale of the land.

It's interesting that Golden Gate has been surrounded by high dollar property in Marin County, while Southwestern and New Orleans require perimeter security, fencing and extra patrols.
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Re: Golden Gate subdivision

Postby Gene Scarborough » Mon Dec 26, 2011 7:41 am

The value of education is in making new friends and being able to discuss important growth matters in person. This thing of just getting a paper to "prove" you are qualified is more bogus than your think. Otherwise, people with degrees would automatically find places of service.

My father chose Mercer first, then Andover-Newton as his seminary. His thinking was to get the best education possible and A-N in the 30's was a happening place with all kinds of connections to large NE schools, especially Harvard. He found out when he got out and wanted to come back South that the Southern Seminary boys had a significant edge for consideration by large southern churches of the Baptist variety.

That has not changed so much over the years. In fact, with levels of mistrust running as they are, it is even more important to have people who know you vouch for your integrity in a future place of service.

In my mind, with the games being played over power and triumphalism, I really just don't trust the average SBC seminary graduate to act in a straightforward way. The model preached and taught at our seminaries these days are the mega church and pastoral absolute control. In my 1967-70 days at SEBTS we were being taught a servant model of ministry. The SS Board was offering 3 size models in their SS approach. Now it appears to me the mega is the model and Pharisee control is the mode. :?
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