PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania preacher who identifies himself as a “chief apostle,” and has traveled as a participant in crusades held by prosperity preacher Morris Cerullo, has teamed with the world’s largest secular entertainment group and others to allow the building that he uses for Sunday services to be renovated and utilized as a lavish concert and comedy venue. The location, known as the Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House, or “The Met,” features 25 bars and appearances by some of the largest names in secular music, such as Bob Dylan, Sarah Brightman and Boys II Men.
According to reports, Mark Hatcher, who leads Holy Ghost Headquarters Revival Center, had purchased the building in the 1990’s to save it from being demolished as it sat vacant for some time. Hatcher says that he used to attend religious services that were held at The Met in the 1950’s.
He spent $5 million on renovating the former opera house, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Hatcher had hosted what he called “camp meetings” in the building in years past, which included appearances by Paula White, Rod Parsley, Steve Munsey and Paul Morton. Hatcher parked his Cadillac Escalade outside of the building, which is located in one of the poorer areas of the city.
Hatcher states on his website that his mission is to “restore the old landmark where God’s presence manifests to teach men of every creed of the Holy Spirit and that they are equipped to go out and compel fallen mankind to repentance, being established unto God and ever abounding in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.”
In recent years, Hatcher entered into a partnership with local developer Eric Blumenfeld of EB Realty Management to restore the property. Blumenfeld had also worked on the Divine Lorraine Hotel, which previously belonged to a cult leader who went by “Father Divine,” who claimed to be God and asserted that his second wife, known as “Mother Divine,” was the reincarnation of his deceased first wife.
The entertainment group Live Nation—which dubs itself as the “largest producer of live music concerts”—also came into the picture, entering into talks with Hatcher about using the building for concerts and other shows, while Hatcher would continue to host church services at the location.
The extravagant building project, with 3,500 seating capacity and 25 bars, cost $56 million for renovations. Bob Dylan was the first artist to perform at The Met, which officially opened this month, with John Legend and Weezer shows days later.
Other acts scheduled to perform as booked by Live Nation, which manages the facility, include Pentatonix, Sarah Brightman, comedian Jim Gaffigan, Ringo Starr, and Boys II Men.
The site Amplify reports that prior to the Dylan concert, an official ribbon cutting ceremony was held, with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, City Council President Darrell Clarke, Live Nation Regional President Geoff Gordon, and the aforementioned Blumenfeld and Hatcher taking part in the occasion.
“This is the building that nobody thought would be saved. God put certain people in place to make it happen, and it did,” Clarke stated, according to The Morning Call.
Last Sunday, Hatcher held his grand re-opening church service featuring fellow prosperity preacher Morris Cerullo, who he refers to as his spiritual father. Cerullo’s website includes posts such as “How You Can Make Prosperity Easy,” “Confess the Promise Out” and “A Transfer of Wealth From God to You.” A gathering with megachurch leader Noel Jones was also held on Dec. 6.
“I am really excited about tonight. Tonight is the beginning of something brand new, spiritually, in our city, something that is going to shake our city,” Hatcher said during the Jones event, according to the Philadelphia Tribune.
“This is the first night getting back in the building and the devil’s real scared right now. He’s real nervous,” he stated. “I haven’t slept in weeks, and when I thought I was going to lay down last night and get a couple hours of rest, the Lord began to download some stuff. He said, ‘What I’m about to do is not another level, but another dimension.’ The city has been in a drought, but he said, ‘Tell my people what I’ve done here on Broad Street is what I’m about to do in your spirit.’”
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 teaches, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness, and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?”
“For ye are the temple of the living God, as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”