BIG SANDY, Texas--The Philadelphia Church of God's pastor general, Gerald Flurry of Edmond, Okla., announced in April 2009 his church has bought the famous bronze swan sculpture that graces the former campus of Ambassador University near Big Sandy.
According to a PCG press release, Mr. Flurry on April 8 inspected Swans in Flight, sculpted by Sir David Wynne in 1968, preparatory to its relocation to Oklahoma and the campus of the PCG's Herbert W. Armstrong College.
In 2001, a year after the Worldwide Church of God sold the Big Sandy campus of Ambassador University to the owner of the Hobby Lobby chain of arts-and-crafts stores, the new proprietor transferred ownership of the campus to the Oak Brook, Ill., ministry of Bill Gothard.
For sale since 2002
Mr. Gothard's ministry, the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), leases the grounds to the International ALERT Academy, a Christian training and service organization that teaches young men emergency skills. ALERT stands for Air Land Emergency Resource Team.
The IBLP put the sculpture up for sale in 2002 for $300,000.
The PCG reported it contacted the IBLP in 2008 about purchasing the work of art.
Shane Granger, marketing director for the PCG, told The Journal the purchase price "will remain undisclosed by both parties per the sales contract."
The sculpture, Mr. Granger said, "will be moved to Oklahoma this summer for repairs and refinishing before being installed in its new home, a reflecting pool in front of Armstrong Auditorium, sometime in the fall."
Mr. Granger said each swan "will have to be disassembled and moved separately, then refinished and finally reassembled on site. We expect the process to take four to six weeks."