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Man wants to make his home a church

Title: Man wants to make his home a church
Date: Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Publisher: The Intelligencer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Author: Freda R. Savana
Main source:

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A. Rhodes Wilson wants to use his single-family home on Easton Road as a mission for the Church of Scientology.

Looking for approval from the Plumstead Township Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Wilson, represented by Doylestown attorney Robert Gundlach, testified he intends to keep the house exactly as it is but convert its use to a place of worship.

Wilson is the church's Bucks County mission's director and would lease the home to the church. He does not there.

Gundlach presented three witnesses, including Wilson, during nearly two hours of testimony.

The hearing was continued until Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Several neighbors who live along the 5000 block of Easton Road, or Route 611, questioned what kind of services would take place in the five-bedroom, ranch-style house that sits on 21/2 acres.

“What exactly do you worship?” asked Daniel Belz.

Wilson said Scientology is recognized as a religion by the federal government, and, although it is not a traditional church, its tenets are well-established. The mission offers classes and counseling services.

The philosophy of scientology, he said, was “beyond the scope of this meeting.” Under cross examination from other residents, Wilson acknowledged there is a fee for the courses and counseling that the church would offer.

Wilson said he anticipated the mission having 18 members as it began. If it grows larger, the church would look for another location.

A hydrologist and a traffic engineer testified the property's use as a mission would not adversely affect the homes' well or traffic on Easton Road.