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神為教會未來的預備 - 陳守強

2017年年初,執事會突然收到一封Portland General Electric (PGE) 寄來的一封信函,意思是他們在2017年夏天要鋪設一條高壓電纜,要通過我們教會後面的草皮。所以他們要以“公共事業徵用權”法律,徵用電纜經過的草皮,限定我們3月内接受他們的徵用。這對教會非常不利,原因有二。一是我們的後院草皮占地廣大,給我們教會有以後繼續建堂有充分的擴展的空間。高壓電纜通過后,把我們的土地一分爲二,對我們以後擴建將造成巨大的局限與各種麻煩。其二是PGE只賠償它所使用的狹長電纜通過的土地,所以賠償價格非常低廉,完全不符合實際電纜鋪設后對我們造成的土地損失。


我當時在執事會,這是看起來很糟糕的事情。如果我們不接受PGE的要求,與PGE這樣一個龐然大物打官司,曠日時久,對教會將帶來巨大的財政負擔。但我們也難以接受PGE的要求,而PGE也看來沒有改變計劃的打算。我們找的第一個詢問的律師,并不建議我們采取法律途徑抵抗PGE,而是儘力爭取最高賠償才是上策。


我們當時陷入兩難之中,不知如何是好。一方面牧師與執事們迫切為此事向神祈求,一方面我們也把這件事情,與全體會衆一同分享,請大家一起禱告。感謝主在此時為教會有奇妙的預備,把以前我們教會青少年主任John Tae 的哥哥Paul Tae就在這時帶到CEC。Paul 是非常有經驗的Real Estate Broker,專精Commercial Real Estate,同時自己本身也碰過兩起被土地徵用的例子。他知道此事后,願意無償的在這件事上來幫助教會。通過Paul,我們知道應該怎樣按部就班的與PGE周旋,他也把對這種案例極有經驗的律師介紹給了教會。這位律師也非常幫忙,以非常少的收費幫助教會與PGE協調。很奇妙的,到了2018年,PGE就放棄了它們原定計劃,把高壓纜綫改道,走了另一條比較長沿著26號高速公路的路綫。


現在我每逢走過教會旁26號高速公路,看到那些高壓電纜與電塔,心裏都非常感恩。相信神為CEC未來50年,保留了教會後面的土地。願意榮耀歸主,他的旨意成就。


God's Preparation for CEC’s future - Tim Chen


At the beginning of 2017, the Church board suddenly received a letter from Portland General Electric (PGE) stating their intention to place high-voltage cables and towers, passing through the grassy area behind our church. They invoked the legal right of "eminent domain" to acquire the land through which the cable would pass, and we were given a three-month deadline to accept their acquisition. This posed a significant challenge to the church for two reasons. Firstly, our backyard's expansive grassy area provided ample space for future expansion and possible new buildings, crucial for the church's growth. After the high-voltage cables passed through, our land would be divided, severely limiting our ability to expand and causing various complications. Secondly, PGE only compensated for the narrow strip of land used by the cable, resulting in a very low compensation amount that did not reflect the actual loss of land after cable installation.


At that time, as a member of the Board, it seemed like a dire situation. If we refused PGE's demand and engaged in a legal battle against such a formidable entity, it would be a prolonged and financially burdensome process for the church. However, accepting PGE's demands was also unfavorable, and PGE seemed unwavering in their plans. The first lawyer we consulted did not recommend legal resistance against PGE; instead, she advised us to negotiate for the highest compensation possible.


We found ourselves in a dilemma, unsure of the best course of action. On one hand, pastors and board members earnestly sought God in prayer, and on the other, we shared the situation with the entire congregation, requesting collective prayer. Thank God, at this crucial moment, He made a wonderful provision for the church. Paul Tae, the brother of our former youth director John Tae, was brought to CEC. Paul is an experienced real estate broker, specializing in commercial real estate, and had dealt with two cases of imminent domain land acquisition before. When he learned about the situation, he volunteered to assist the church without compensation. Through Paul, we learned how to systematically deal with PGE, and he also introduced us to a highly experienced lawyer for such cases, who offered significant help to the church at a minimal cost. Miraculously, by 2018, PGE abandoned its original plan and rerouted the high-voltage cable along a longer path alongside highway 26.


Now, every time I pass by Highway 26 next to the church and see those high-voltage towers and cables, I am filled with gratitude. I believe God has preserved the land behind the church for the next 50 years of CEC's future. May all the glory be to the Lord as His will is accomplished.


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