JPUSA Sells Bulk of Cornerstone Property

By Stan Friedman

CHICAGO, IL (May 6, 2013) – Jesus People USA Covenant Church (JPUSA) recently sold a majority of the 670 acres of its property in Bushnell, Illinois – where tens of thousands of people once attended Cornerstone festivals – in order to advance other areas of ministry.

“This was a painful decision,” said John Herrin, JPUSA’s business manager. “We have enjoyed 21 years of stewarding this place and became quite attached. It served dual purposes as both a home to Cornerstone Festival and a retreat site that is a much-needed place of rest for our members from the rigors of inner-city ministry.”

The final festival was held in 2012. The church ended the festivals due to high costs.

Sale of the property was completed in late April. JPUSA retains title to an 83-acre parcel in the southern end of the property. The entire “Wildwood Lake” was included in the purchase.

“The total sale came to approximately $1.9 million, and after paying off the existing campground mortgage, we were able to apply over $1 million right back into our new church building,” said Herrin.

Jesus People is rehabbing a warehouse located across from its headquarters known as “Friendly Towers.” The church has used the warehouse for several decades for purposes that ranged from offices to a mechanics garage.

In its new incarnation, the 47,000-square-foot structure will be converted into a multi-purpose building the church has named Wilson Abbey. It will house a concert hall and worship space with a 500-seat capacity, as well as JPUSA’s school.

The building also will include a retail coffee shop, playhouse theater, recording studio, and numerous offices and facilities for other JPUSA ministries.

The church had needed to find a site for its school after the city refused to renew the license for an aging Catholic school that JPUSA had rented for many years, Herrin said. “We felt it was time for the church and our school to finally have a more permanent home.”

Herrin said he is grateful for the guidance given by National Covenant Properties (NCP), which had helped JPUSA purchase and upgrade the campgrounds. “Once again NCP brainstormed with us and jointly we realized that in order to make this new dream a reality, we were going to need to reduce our extraneous expenses and utilize whatever assets we had available.”

Herrin said that although the decision to sell the property has been painful, “We are thankful for all the memories and excitedly looking ahead to this next challenge. We hope to open the facility this summer with a full schedule including weekly church services and concerts.”

Herrin added that other nonprofits have expressed interest in renting office space.

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5 Comments

  1. I brought many young people from my church at the C-stone festivals, most of which are in their thirties now and serving the Lord. Several of them accepted the Lord as Savior while at the festivals as well. I remember the first night I arrived with some of the youth as well as adults I coulkd sense the presence of the Holy Spirit as I looked over the different campsites. Attending C-stone through the years was a once in a life time experience and I am glad my children and five of my grandchildren experienced it with my wife and I. May God continue to bless you all in Christ Jesus our Lord in your future endeavors.

  2. Ever, since I left JPUSA in 1996, I had hoped to once again return to Cornerstone. Alas, that never happened. It will be greatly missed. I hope one day, in the not to far future that I will be able visit with the wife and show her the ministry and see how the old warehouse has been transformed.
    I remember, having the ministry back in the 90’s having to remove an old underground storage tank from that building. So it will be interesting to see it updated and made more modern as a portion of it transforms into an actual church.

  3. Thank you JPUSA. U gave me my first bible when I was 13. I attended church services, visited regularly, attended concerts at lake county fairgrounds & followed u to Bushnell. I was hoping to attend this year, but see u have transformed your ministry. I will be down to visit. God is saving lives one at a time from alcohol & drugs at Barrington Behavioral Health & Wellness. Praying for your new developments. Your ministry has shaped my walk with God tremendously. Thank you for all you do!!!!

  4. That’s the life of change. Always moving forward. Cstone was awesome and will always be remembered. Who knows maybe something new will pop up.

  5. I went to cornerstone festivals when I was a teenager.. I was baptized there at the age of 18 and have continued my faithwalk since then and have grown closer and closer to the Lord ever since. it was an AWESOME ministry! I am so grateful to the JPUSA people and everything they did for us all. Cornerstone festival will be much missed and I am so sad that I will not be able to take my children to experience what is cornerstone festival.. God bless em all! Thank you for everything!

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