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Jim Bakker broadcasts from old PTL studio

By Jenny Overman
joverman@fortmilltimes.com

For the first time in more than 25 years, Jim Bakker broadcast his television program today from the studios of the former Heritage USA.

These days, the former head of Heritage USA, a Christian theme park that included TV studios as well as a “Main Street” with shops and other attractions, typically broadcasts his show from Missouri. But he returned to Fort Mill this week for “Restoration Celebration,” a series of broadcasts from his former stomping grounds. Events earlier this week have been by invitation only, but according to jimbakkershow.com, today’s broadcast was streamed live on the website at 10:30 a.m. from the former Heritage USA studios.

This week, Bakker has also recorded his show from The Barn and at the Upper Room at the former Heritage USA site.

Cathy McGee of Greensboro brought her mother, Hazel Poe, to the Upper Room Wednesday for a live broadcast of the show. Poe was a former supporter of PTL and still supports Bakker’s ministry in Missouri. She received an invitation by mail to attend, and ‘she said, ‘We have to go!’” McGee said.

According to the website, Bakker was joined at the Upper Room by Rick Joyner, head of Morningstar Ministries, and Cindy Jacobs, whom Bakker refers to as a "prophet," and Sara Morgan, the first person to buy a house on the Heritage PTL property.

Morningstar Ministries acquired much of the former Heritage USA property, including Bakker's unfinished tower that is now a bone of contention with York County.

The Upper Room was originally opened by Bakker in the 1980s. It was designed to replicate the Upper Room – the place where Jesus is said to have had his last supper with his disciples – and functioned as a 24-hour prayer center, with a bank of prayer phones manned around the clock. It was renovated and reopened in Dec. 2010.

“Jim, you were the father of the ministry that remains on this property. There’s a heritage here and we think you were a great Father and we are honored to have you back here,” Joyner said during the broadcast at the Upper Room on Wednesday, according to Bakker’s website.

“There is no one who is beyond the restoration of Jesus,” he said.

Heritage USA and Bakker were immersed in scandal, which led to the eventual downfall of both. Bakker was discovered to have paid off then church secretary Jessica Hahn to cover up a sexual encounter and was later convicted on federal fraud charges.

Bakker was released from prison in 1994.

In addition to his religious message, Bakker’s current ministry also focuses on selling products, including vitamins, “Bread of Life,” and Jim’s Favorite Soynut Butter.

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