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Fathom

Fathom

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Fathom Leader Says Center Is Unfairly Accusedposted July 22, 2009Tim Reid, pastor of Mosaic Church and leader of the Fathom club downtown, denied that the operation is a main contributor to nearby crime.

He said there have been no criminal incidents inside the club since it opened near Fourth and Market in 2001.

Mr.

Reid gave this press statement: "I.

Source of Disturbances: The answer is not simple.

We are flattered that our leaders believe the youth of this community only come downtown to be at our place.

We wish it were true.

Fact is, Chattanooga youth visit the downtown area for many reasons, good and bad, and it is our position that Fathom plays only a small role.

The larger draw includes the theater, the arts, the bars, the riverfront and parks, the restaurants and more.

The problems stem from the underage drinking, the lack of parent supervision, the lack of structured community events for youth, the gangs, a growing youth drug problem and so on.

"II.

The Police: It is our position that the police downtown are doing the best job they can.

We are not naive.

We understand that on occasion some of the groups we are trying to reach as a church require extra supervision.

Just as Riverbend asks for help from the local police, we also do.

In fact, until city police officers told us they were no longer allowed to work events at Fathom, we required certain events to be supervised by police.

Today, we ask these same events be managed by a local security company.

We view police as our friends.

Indeed, many officers see Fathom as a safe, positive environment, though the current political situation keeps them from stating so publicly.

"III.

The Youth: We continue to be characterized as a "teen club" by local leaders and, by proxy, the media.

However, a majority of our events are geared toward artists, the arts community and the nightclub community -- primarily adults.

We've been labeled a "teen club" because we refuse to serve alcohol, and we sympathize with that "teen club" characteristic.

The label is fundamentally in error.

We are a performing arts center, and a look at all aspects of the "Mosaic Spiritual, Arts and Cultural Center" will prove this point clearly.

"We have an art gallery, studios for art, dance and martial arts, photography darkroom, an independent film theater seating 230, and our main performance hall which seats 700.

The Mosaic Church meets at the center.

In spite of years of public speculation about Fathom by this community, no reporter, no editor or vocal opponent to the center has taken the time to visit our facility and present that perception to the world.

It is our position that those who take the time to do so, would no longer characterize Fathom as a "teen club." We would ask that the newspaper consider identifying us appropriately.

"IV.

An unChristian movement: It is our position that the nature of our ministry has helped foster much of the negative accusations.

We realize that the ministry we feel called to pursue is one that makes most traditional churches uncomfortable.

We have been accused of being evil, in league with the anti-Christ, on the highway to hell and much more.

Our goal is simple: We are trying to introduce people to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples.

Our methods of outreach are liberal, and our values and beliefs are conservative.

For many, that mix is not appropriate and leads to suspicion.

"V.

Racial Issues: This is a sensitive issue.

It is our position that some unconscious racism may also be driving efforts against Fathom.

Opponents tend to describe the events that they say lead to problems as frequented by "urban youth." In fact, they are referring to black youth, and many would prefer that events organized to serve the black youth of Chattanooga be held away from the downtown area.

We've been told if Fathom has another "urban youth" outreach, we will be shut down.

"VI.

Media: Questions are not being asked that leave Fathom as the responsible party for reported problems, by default.

Mosiac, Fathom and Tim Reid do not mind answering the hard questions.

But we would gently ask the media to please ask the tough questions of our opponents and question their data.

For the record, Fathom has not had a single incident (shooting, stabbing, assault, etc.) on our property.

Yet, local leaders would have the community believe we are responsible.

Why is Fathom being singled out and treated differently than the local bars and night clubs, for example? "Other questions: "� What is the true source of problems downtown? It is not Fathom.

It is not the Mosaic Church.

If news coverage does not point out the fact that the source of problems go well beyond Fathom, then the news coverage is irresponsible.

Does the media really believe Fathom has this kind of power? Please consider looking at the deeper issues here.

"� Why did no news outlet report that the July 5 shooting occurred outside the downtown police precinct, instead listing only 300 Walnut St.? Does this not send up any red flags? If people are comfortable enough to express violence next to a police precinct, does that not suggest we need to be giving our downtown police presence more resources? The locations of incidents that have been publicized suggest others - not Fathom - have a serious burden of responsibility.

"� Fathom has been in its location since 2001.

We've not changed the way we have operated since that time.

Why is it when violence jumps to an all-time high in the city (summer of 2006 and 2009) does Fathom become the focus of the problem? It is our position that we are simply being used as a scapegoat.

Educated business men and women in downtown Chattanooga know the answer is more complex than eliminating Fathom.

We need more police downtown.

We need more enforcement of existing laws.

We need more work done on dismantling the growing numbers of gangs.

The answer is complex, expensive and requires much more investigation.

"� We ask for the media to please not take the word of local leaders.

And we ask for media not to take our word either.

Find the sources of violence, and we believe the public will discover that the accusations made against Fathom and Mosiac are unfounded.

It is not as simple as a few urban events drawing the wrong element."Email this to a friend �Other Breaking NewsCorker Says Maliki Meeting Was PositiveFormer Cornerstone Bank Branch Manager Gets 37-Month Prison SentenceMan With 27-Year Sentence Gets Another 41 Years, 8 MonthsAlexander Votes To Support Second Amendment RightsTVA Board Calls for Comprehensive Organizational Changes In Response To Kingston ReportSevillano Was Victim In Tuesday Accident On I-75; Gomez-Reyes Charged Fire Marshal Craig Haney Reassigned As Captain34-Year-Old Soldier From Dalton Dies In AfghanistanWamp Announces Statewide Finance CommitteePolice Blotter: Police Say Black Youths Throwing Rocks At WhitesEstranged Wife Asks Order Of Protection Against Red Bank Vice MayorJessica Williams, One Of Bradley County's Most Wanted, Arrested In Etowah Group Says $437,000 Spent To Wine And Dine LegislatorsAll Breaking News Articles...OpinionRed Bank, We'll Play Ball Elsewhere - And Response (15)Chattanooga Is Not Bicycle Friendly - And Response (2)Hate Crimes In ChattanoogaSportsMocs Football Tops 1,500 Season Tickets SoldLate Inning Miscues Cost Braves Chance Of Sweeping GiantsLookouts Take Game Two From BayBears, 3-0HappeningsChattanooga�s Live Music Scene: Zan TeddyFeatured Pet: CalvinComcast Host Second Casting Call For Local Dating Program | Breaking News | Sports | Opinion | Happenings | Classifieds | Obituaries | | Dining Out | Business | Movies | Focus | About Us | | Church | Living Well | Memories | Outdoors | Real Estate | Student Scene | Travel |

http://www.chattanoogan.com/articles/article_155365.asp
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