Oklahoma City church’s project on hold over disagreement about critical race theory

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers came to Ebenezer Baptist Church to serve the needy.

Families came from all around Oklahoma for free food, household items and school supplies.

Ebenezer rallied to serve, and in the end, the church property became the headquarters for $2 million in donations.

What many don’t know about Ebenezer is that this is a congregation of just a few hundred people.

It’s not a mega-church, but a small, growing parish with a mega vision for loving people in Oklahoma.

“I’m just a guy that’s trying to help. I’m not trying to hurt anybody,” said Pastor Derrick Scobey.

Pastor Scobey has worked tirelessly this pandemic year, securing grants and donations.

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Pastor Derrick Scobey

Even as the pandemic winds down, many Oklahomans are still in need.

In recent months, Scobey has raised $100,000 to construct a large metal building with a loading dock and a cooler-freezer combo for storage of perishable food.

The funds have come from a number of local and national non-profit organizations, including Inasmuch Foundation, World Vision, Chris Tomlin’s Angels Armies, North Church, Frontline Church, Peoples Church and The Nelson Family Foundation.

“We need a building permit,” Scobey said. “But we can’t get a building permit until we receive a (land) survey.”

Ebenezer plans to build a distribution facility to expedite their generosity.

Pastor Scobey hired licensed surveyor Bob Manley.

“He agreed to provide us with a survey in order for us to submit an application to the city,” Scobey said.

Manley’s proposal outlines the scope of the project, the timeline and the price.

According to the signed contract dated May 14, Manley agreed to provide the survey within 14 business days.

“We’ve never had a cross word. great communication,” Scobey said.   

However, four weeks later, on June 11th, Manley still had not delivered the service.

According to Scobey, Manley sent some workers to the property and then promised to have the survey completed by Monday, June 14.

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The design for a large metal building with a loading dock and a cooler-freezer combo for storage of perishable food.

However, one business day before the deadline, on Friday, June 11…

“He said, ‘I just want to tell you we’re going to have to withdraw from this agreement,'” Pastor Scobey remembers. “So, I’m waiting for the punchline because we’ve had a great relationship. So really, I just know he’s kidding.”

Bob Manley was not joking.

Apparently, the reason for the sudden, unexpected breach of contract was a disagreement over Scobey’s position on HB 1775.

“He said, ‘Well, because of your position on the critical race theory,'” said Scobey. “He said, ‘Critical race theory is a direct threat and attack on my white grandchildren, and I will not have anything to do with you or Ebenezer because you support it.”

Indeed, Scobey and many community leaders publicly opposed HB 1775, which prohibited the teaching of critical race curriculum in Oklahoma.

“And then he said, ‘Let me ask you this. What’s your position on reparations?’ I said, ‘Bob that is a very inappropriate question to be asking me. Please do not ask me my position on anything along these lines.”

KFOR tried repeatedly to get Bob Manley’s side of the story.

Ali Meyer called multiple listed phone numbers every day for more than a week.

She went to his home in Cashion and emailed with no response.

According to the Oklahoma State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, Bob Manley LLC has an active state license, but no longer has a working website.

“I believe in Romans 8:28, (which says) ‘For we know all things work together for the good to them who love God who are called according to his purpose,'” said Scobey. “So this is just a little speed bump, and I know it will work out. But still, what he did, what Bob Manley did, it was wrong; there’s no two ways about it.”

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Ebenezer Baptist Church

The church decided not to sue Manley for breach of contract.

But Pastor Scobey did file a complaint with the state board.

Then, he got a call from the Oklahoma Society of Land Surveyors, which helped him select a new licensed surveyor to complete the project.

Smith Roberts Baldischwiler LLC agreed to do the work at cost – a $1,300 savings for Ebenezer Baptist Church.

“I didn’t think it would end this way, so quickly,” Pastor Scobey said. “I want to thank (KFOR) and all the hard work that you have put into this, no doubt.”

Smith Roberts Baldischwiler is moving forward quickly with the site work in order to speed up the timeline so Ebenezer Baptist Church can serve more Oklahomans in need.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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