Front page: Swan sculpture goes on market; booths for sale

By Mac Overton

BIG SANDY, Texas--The owner of the property that for 33 years was the campus of Ambassador College (which became a university in 1994) wants to sell the metal swan sculpture that graces the area in front of the administration building.

Ron Fuhrman of Big Sandy, director of Air-Land Emergency Response Team (ALERT), which has owned the grounds since Dec. 31, 2001, said ALERT would like to sell the sculpture and other items and wonders if anyone among the Churches of God would be interested in buying it.

The asking price for Swan in Flight, created by English sculptor David Wynne and added to the grounds in 1970, is $300,000. But, said Mr. Fuhrman, ALERT will entertain lower offers.
Sold in 2000

The Worldwide Church of God sold the property in 2000 to the Green Family Trust, owner of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., of Oklahoma City, for an undisclosed sum.

Green in turn leased it to the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), a nonprofit educational and service ministry based in Oak Brook, Ill., headed by Bill Gothard. The Big Sandy acquisition joined about 50 other IBLP schools in several states.

The ownership formally transferred Dec. 31, 2001, from Green to the IBLP, of which ALERT is a department.

Mr. Fuhrman said ALERT and the campus will soon become a "stand-alone" operation of the IBLP.

The religiously oriented ALERT trains young men in "tent-maker" skills, said Mr. Fuhrman, that include "survival skills, medical and fire training." He said that, "unless the Lord moves us on," ALERT is a permanent fixture on the Big Sandy landscape.
Booths for sale

Also for sale are several "booths," the small metal buildings that served as student residences on the section of campus known by Ambassador students as Booth City.

ALERT also wants to sell timber that would be cut from wooded parts of the sprawling campus.

Mr. Fuhrman said when ALERT sells the swan sculpture it will throw in a small model of the larger sculpture made by the same artist at no extra charge.

Neither the IBLP nor ALERT is a church, but both groups are openly religious. Mr. Fuhrman described ALERT as "conservative fundamentalist theologically." Most of the young men in the training program on the campus attend local Sunday-observing churches, mostly Baptist.
Where to write

To make ALERT an offer for the sculpture or other items, including booths and timber, contact Mr. Fuhrman at, or telephone or write Mr. Fuhrman or Mel Cohen at (903) 636-2000.

Or write Mr. Fuhrman or Mr. Cohen in care of ALERT, One Academy Blvd., Big Sandy, Texas 75755, U.S.A.

The Journal: News of the Churches of God is available from P.O. Box 1020, Big Sandy, Texas 75755, U.S.A., and For more information write . To comment on this article or any other article or feature in The Journal or Connections, write . The preceding article or feature is from The Journal, April 15, 2002.

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