Government Attacks Church, Steals Property by Gregory, of the ekklesia Kurios
Early in the morning of January 31, 1997 in the quiet farming community of Sublimity, Oregon the sound of armored vehicles, including at least one tank, large trucks, dozens of police cars, vans, motor homes and many other support vehicles, shook the earth as they rumbled through winding rural hills toward the Embassy of Heaven Church.
A long time resident of the area, Roy Basl, heard the ungodly noise. As his wife Julia went outside and observed their passing, he made a hurried call to his neighbors at the Church, to warn them of the blitzkrieg-like convoy that was passing his home and headed their way. Roy, later related to me that they were traveling at about 30 mph down the tree-lined narrow lane, while passing his place in rapid succession.
Pastor Paul Revere and his wife Rachel were still resting in bed after a late night working at the Church. Rachel answered the phone, and had only a minute to try and contact other Church members before vehicles were coming down their long driveway at the bottom of the hill.
Events unfolded quickly. At least two vehicles arrived outside, followed by a commotion and knocking at the door. Paul had dressed, and was coming downstairs to answer the door and let the visitors into the Church building, if they came in peace, as he has always done in the past. The fact that Pastor Paul is a man of peace is well known to everyone in law enforcement throughout Marion County.
Amidst the sound of breaking glass, the men outside broke open the glass doors to the Church. Paul quickly stepped back into their bedroom. He later related that he thought they had fired gas canisters into the Church. He was not sure who these people were, and what they intended.
Men armed with rifles came into the Embassy of Heaven Church building, led by dogs. Pastor Paul came down to greet them, as is his custom. He stated, "This is the Embassy of Heaven Church, a Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Who are you?" The pastor was promptly arrested and handcuffed on an obscure charge of "obstructing government administration."
Rachel reported that at no time did the men display badges or warrants. They were dressed in blue jeans and dark jackets, and refused to identify themselves when asked who they were. The two vehicles immediately outside included a van with no visible markings or lights that would identify the men, and a bus marked on the front with the words "Winery Tours." The men claimed to have a "writ of assistance" signed by a court administrator which they had just posted.
The Church had experienced a large amount of vandalism in the weeks previous. Rachel, wondered if these were mere lawless vigilantes. Their unofficial appearance, their belligerent tone, their sudden arrival without notice did not seem right. Marion County had been demanding property tax payments from the Embassy of Heaven Church. The Church members contend that they are not liable for the tax. Although Marion County does not assess property tax to any other churches within the county, the officials there disagree. The Church had been told and led to believe that there would be a hearing, and 72 hour notice by the sheriff department before any action was taken. Who were these men? They would not identify themselves to the Reveres.
An officer, known to the Reveres, arrived wearing civilian clothes, and argued briefly with the arresting officer as to the need to arrest Pastor Paul, who was obviously peaceful and of no threat to anyone. Despite the pleas of the officer, the man in charge could not be dissuaded. He said he had made his decision and they were going to be arrested. Also arrested were Christian Livingstone, a Church member, and Abraham, a song time worker at the Embassy of Heaven Church.
Brooke and Skye, their two young teenage daughters, were sleeping outside in the Church's motor home. When Rachel went to her children, men followed her inside where the children were sleeping. The girls were still in their nighties and it was raining. Rachel ordered the men out of the motor home, so that her daughters could get dressed and the men complied.
Outside on the hilltop were more vehicles on the narrow country road than had ever been seen before. Roy Basl counted no less than 22 police vehicles. He spoke to Deputy Tim Steele who said he was not in charge and was just a little guy doing his job. Roy was told that everyone was going to be arrested and the girls would be taken by Children Services. It would be evident that the officer down at the Church had not made his decision to arrest Pastor Paul based upon any "obstruction of administration", since Steele knew from the beginning of events that everyone at the Church would be arrested. Children Services Division was already there, and were expectantly waiting to take the children away.
Roy Basl, who is a member of the local Catholic Church, knows the kind of man Pastor Paul is and knows his family. He explained to Deputy Steele that he understood the deputy's position but that the parents should have the right to decide where their children were to go. He knew the parents would rather have their children go with him and his wife, than go with C.S.D. He explained to the officer that he was just a little guy too, but that if any harm came to those girls that he would become about a foot taller. Steele evidently decided to check with a higher authority, because the children ultimately went with Basl.
Christian Livingstone was visiting the Church at the time of the attack. He is a big soft spoken man, with an even gentler nature. After feeling the call to the Lord, Christian was baptized at the Embassy of Heaven Church and began his life in the Lord's Kingdom. In his earlier life he spent a great deal of time in jail, as a correctional officer. The day of the raid he would be back in jail, but this time he would not go home at the end of his shift. Christian had attended a Church which the officials of Marion County do not wish established. People such as Doug Ebner (Assessor), Ralph Grim (Tax Collector), Jane Stonecipher and Michael Hansen (Legal Counsels) and Randall Franke (Commissioner) do not seem to want the Embassy of Heaven Church to be in their community.
Abraham, also arrested, is a small thin man with thick dark hair who has been a dedicated and hard working assistant to the Pastor of the Church for many years. He sometimes refers to himself as the church mouse. During large assemblies, which must be held outside on the wooded hillside, he is seen darting through the woods waiting on the needs and comforts of the congregation. He is a knowledgeable student of the Bible and when he does speak, he speaks with a conviction of faith. His small stature and meek manner humbles us all when accompanied with his resolute faith and active service in the Kingdom. Abraham was physically carried out, feeling no need to serve the unlawful authority and even illegal demands of the men who were invading his Church.
A young man with severe emotional and mental problems, under the care of the Church, was visibly distressed by the large numbers of armed men with rifles and the commotion of the day, but Marion County was not interested in taking responsibility for this man who was clearly in need of help and care. The motto of the Marion County police is not "to protect and serve," but is "A STRENGTH IN OUR COMMUNITY."
Those people at the Church who were not arrested were unceremoniously removed from the property and dropped off at the side of the road. They were allowed to leave with nothing but the clothes on their backs and a token "toothbrush."
Marion County officials and employees are responsible for this travesty of justice and damage to the Embassy of Heaven Church and injury to Pastor Paul, his family and Church members everywhere. The State of Oregon, its Attorney General and Governor who continue to allow their bureaucracy to flaunt their own Constitution and exceed their authority become responsible. Those in authority in the United States who allow local county governments to make laws that establish one religion and attack another become responsible and are answerable to the Authority of us all.
Friends of the Revere family took Rachel and her children in for the night. Pastor Paul, Abraham and Christian are held in the Marion County Jail and are awaiting arraignment on Tuesday at 8 o'clock a.m. All of the Church records, tapes, books, teaching materials, equipment, as well as their personal property are being hauled away by Marion County.
Sunday, at 1:30 p.m., Rachel, her children, and a small group of people gathered at the edge of the Embassy of Heaven Church property to attend religious services. When they tried to enter the Church grounds they were stopped by deputies of Marion County. When Rachel, in the absence of her husband, stated that they had come to have Church services, they were refused entry. As the services opened with prayer and singing, the Command Post backed out and drove away leaving behind a woman officer named Briant, and an unidentified male officer. The male officer left the scene as the congregation began to pray for them.
After the services were over Skye Revere, 13 years old, went to Officer Briant and said she was going in to get her cats. The officer said that she could not enter. Briant also said that they tried to catch the cats but were unable to do so. She said they put food out for them but the cats would not come near the deputies. Skye Revere has now counted no less than nine large moving vans taking away all Church property along with her things.
Larry Mann reported that he asked an Officer Peterson, at the scene, why there was no Due Process of Law in front of a judge. He was told that the judge said that he didn't think it was necessary to bother with a hearing. I do not believe that Skye Revere would agree with him. I know that I cannot.
Gregory, of the ekklesia Kurios
(Isaiah 33:22) For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.
Copyright 1996, 2014, by Gregory Allan; All rights reserved.