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South Bay Postcripts : A Material Fact Ruins Dream of Spiritual Nature

January 22, 1987|DEAN MURPHY

Converting the fire-ravaged Wilmington Funeral Home on Broad Avenue into a church and religious center for the destitute apparently wasn't in the Lord's plan after all.

"There is a reason it didn't work out," said Pastor Robert Crivelli, 33, a former drug addict and gang member who last summer said God had instructed him to leave a storefront ministry in San Jose to open the center. "Why? I don't know. You never know how the Lord works."

Crivelli and about 40 friends and relatives fell about $30,000 short of the $49,000 they needed for a down payment on the 60-year-old structure, which they were going to buy for $200,000. Yard sales, raffles and other fund-raising efforts simply weren't enough, Crivelli said.

In December the funeral home was sold to a developer, who has torn it down and hopes to replace it with apartments, according to the broker for the property.

Crivelli said it was hard to watch his dream fall through, but, as he put it, the Lord came through with other plans.

In December the group, which has incorporated as the New Faith Center of Southern California, began leasing a former boat repair shop on Pacific Coast Highway in east Wilmington. Members have converted the main building into a sanctuary and plan to turn a second building into classrooms for children. The center for the destitute has been put on hold, he said.

"Down the line we hope to come up with the money for the men's and women's home," he said. "Right now, we are just helping the ones that come in by giving them the Word."

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