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Redding Civic Attempts To Distance Itself From Bethel Church

The company that runs the Redding Civic Auditorium is trying to distance itself from the megachurch that founded it. Advance Redding manages the auditorium. The non-profit entity was formed in 2011 after Bethel Church proposed to use the auditorium for its School Of Supernatural Ministry. At the time, the Redding City Council agreed to the arrangement of a long term lease because they felt the facility had become insolvent and could no longer be included in a recession-choked city budget. Since that time, Advance Redding has made significant investments in the building to maintain it at standards that can still attract headlining acts. They say they’ve spent a Million Dollars on improvements, largely funded by the $750,000 annual rent paid by the Bethel School Of Supernatural Ministry. Although Advance Redding was born at the suggestion of Bethel and has always been considered by many to be a subsidiary of the church, Advance Redding says that’s not so. They claim to be a completely separate organization which doesn’t answer to nor pay money to Bethel. Despite the claim of independence, some of the members of Advance Redding’s board of directors are also top leaders of Bethel Church. The issue was addressed in a statement released Monday because some of those same leaders have recently called on their congregation to contact state legislators and express opposition to some bills that would further delegitimize the practice of gay conversion therapy. It’s already illegal in California to subject juveniles to the ordeal, which seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. It’s a transformation that most of modern science considers to be impossible and potentially harmful to its subjects. The legislation moving through Sacramento would define the practice as medical fraud. Bethel’s stance on the matter has drawn sharp criticism from members of the community at large, not only to those who define themselves as LQBT+. Advance Redding is clearly concerned that the controversial anti-gay activism by Bethel will translate into a reputation of intolerance in the entertainment industry and repel some profitable performers. They say such a “stain on a venue’s reputation is a substantial setback in attracting quality artists”. They have not publicly stated if any major artists have canceled or declined shows in light of the recent news.