The Empty Dome of St. Agnes: Bank Shuts Down a Houston Megachurch

Private security guards were stationed outside the premises of the St. Agnes Missionary Baptist Church south of the Loop yesterday, and an attorney for the bank that owns the property confirms to Fox 26 reporter Isiah Carey that the church has closed. The guards were originally under orders from Herring Bank not to allow anyone to enter or remove any furniture or equipment from the church building off Scott St. near Sims Bayou. However, bank attorney Dwight Jefferson told Carey late last night that

church workers have been given approval by the bank to remove certain personal items and belongings from the building. Just to make sure that’s all they take security guards outside the building are also video taping all activities.

What’s all the fuss?

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The $5 million cathedral southeast of the Astrodome is capped by its own dome — a 200-ft.-diameter shotcrete-and-polyurethane-foam structure built by the Monolithic Dome company of Italy, Texas, that’s 50 ft. tall and spreads over 31,000 sq. ft., room enough for 4,000 congregants. And there’s another Astrodome parallel: In 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Red Cross and other relief organizations set up a service center in the sanctuary, distributing checks and debit cards to evacuees.

The church at 3730 S. Acres Dr. was founded in 1967, and is run by Bishop Gene A. Moore, a former TSU regent and Houston Community College trustee. Carey notes that Herring Bank (which is based in Amarillo) foreclosed on the church 2 years ago, but that the church continued to lease the property. The church and bank are “in negotiations” about the building’s future, he reports.

Photos: KDW Construction Management (top) and Monolithic Dome (bottom)

13 Comment

  • Wow, there’s an Italy, Tx? Neato!

  • I read the other day (can’t find the link unfortunately) that the guy who owns Monolithic Dome is heading to Haiti to build mini-domes (about 800 square feet per) for the homeless and teach Haitians how to build them. Seems they are great for resisting hurricanes and earthquakes. He had a great quote along the lines of “…it’s like trying to topple Jell-O”. His rental “dome village” in Italy, TX is worth driving by to ogle.

  • Not so sure how well the monolithic nature of dome would make it more resistant to earthquakes. Buckminster Fuller, as per usual, was WAY ahead on this one. Not only the geodesic dome, but the egg-shaped house he proposed for use in coastal environs for Hurricane resistance through aerodynamics.

  • I’m no structural engineer, but I can imagine how lateral forces that might cause a top-heavy structure with vertical walls to sway would be distributed away along the curvilinear surfaces of a dome. There’s probably something to that.

  • Now I know what the deal is with that giant, cowboy-booted caterpillar you see on the drive from Houston to Dallas- it’s the Monolithic Dome people! :D

    http://www.monolithic.com/stories/welcome-to-monolithic-com/photos#4

  • Tax all of these “megachurches” as they scam businesses they are.

  • I am shocked and in disarray. I usually drive by the church everyday and it looks so lonely. Why couldn’t the members get together and raise money to keep the church open? What will become of the church now?

  • well, i was a member there many years ago. Bishop Moore was bragging about wearing italian suits and getting gifts. I remember in about 1996 they took up a donation from members for his anniversary. A short time later he was given a Rolls Royce.
    The suggestion that the members should have done more is misplaced, because they did. Bishop Moore took members money and opened a neighborhood in Pearland. He and the board members were making beaucoup money off their members. The same members most of the time couldn’t get the church to give them financial support or food.

  • Facts .. On Oct 20th 2010

    GAMA Community Development Corporation with officers

    Kerry Ganther and Gene A Moore Sr

    Both pastors at disciples of faith Baptist church

    Signed papers to purchase our rental property in Comanche TX for $65,000

    Payment was to be made the day papers were signed now over 10 weeks later we have still NOT been paid and Mr Ganther and Mr Moore are in breach of contract!!

    Due to the events of Mr Ganther and Mr Moore’s non performance on this matter – my family is in jeopardy of being homeless. We had planned to purchase the home we are living in with proceeds from the sale of property Mr Ganther and Mr Moore signed on but with not getting pd we were not able to follow thru with purchase. And now is being sold to someone else and we have to get out! We have a contract on a new place but will not be able to take possession until we are able to make payment from the sale of our property which after 10 weeks has still not been paid for!

    The property the GAMA corp was purchasing is used as a rental so we are unable to move to it at this time!

    We just want pd! We have trusted they would in good faith.

    Mr Ganther and Mr Moore’s lack of action on this matter has caused stress, attorneys fees, moving expenses, eviction and more on our family.

    Being a man of the cloth we trusted his word. All we want is paid, like he said he would. We want to move on with our lives and get this negativity out.

    Thanks for any help you are able to offer!!=

  • Traci Davis please contact me on this issue my church was fraudulently sold too by these crooks!! I am NOT afraid of them…rachel@gmail.com

  • My heart n prayers goes out to the community n church family! I’m praying to see will God give the church back or move us all on! LadyB of Houston n America with Bishop-Elect Roger Kirksey of Mobile,Alabama

  • My mom purchased a bond for $3,000 for this church. She’s has alzheimers and is in assisted living and we are using he assets to pay her bill…

    Just realized $3,000 went down the drain and there are others like it that are now worthless.

    Her and my dad’s life savings are worth about $2,000 now which doesn’t even cover one month of her care.

  • There is hope===the property has been sold & we are waiting for our check in the mail from “Herring bank” b4 the end of the year —-That,s what the nice lady at the bank told me about a month ago. <