For those who are curious, The Austin American-Statesman did send a reporter to the anticipated Sunday Church of Open Doors service to see if the Rev. Jordan Brown or any members of his "We've taken tradition and religious doctrine and thrown them out the window" flock decided to attend.
Even though the news report that resulted was short, and rather grammatically challenged, it did yield some interesting information for journalists and news consumers attempting to follow up on the hate-cake incident.
As I said in an early post (and in this past week's "Crossroads" podcast) I am convinced journalists covering Brown's lawsuit, and the resulting counter-suit by the legal team at Whole Foods, need to know if this shepherd does, in fact, have a flock. If so, who are the lay leaders who oversee his ministry?
So here is the top of the report in The American-Statesman:
A traditional Sunday gathering led by an Austin man who targeted Whole Foods Market with controversial, viral allegations that backfired last week didn’t hold its usual services today.
Jordan Brown, who said he pastors a small group, the Church of Open Doors, didn’t have their usual meeting out of his East Austin apartment complex Sunday.
Now, take out the word "traditional" and then substitute "congregation" for "gathering" and that lede makes some sense. I really don't know what happened in the second sentence. It seems that something is missing.
The key fact here is that journalists still have had zero contact with anyone from the congregation. In fact, at this point, there is no on-the-record evidence that the church exists, other than Brown's statements.
The American-Statesman team reported that fact, indirectly:
Since Jan. 17, the group has held about a dozen Sunday noon meetings in the “Social Hub” room at the AMLI South Shore apartment complex at 1620 East Riverside Drive, according to the group’s Facebook page. But by early Sunday afternoon, the group held no such meeting and the room sat empty.
An apartment complex worker said the group didn’t reserve this room this Sunday, and didn’t expect them to meet there “anymore” after Brown’s public claims were met with a swift response from Whole Foods.
Did the anonymous apartment worker say that previous services had been held at this location, as claimed at Brown's website for his church planting effort? What is the source of this worker's statement that future Church of Open Doors worship services in this small community room (see the picture with the newspaper report) are unlikely?
The Inquisitr.com site noticed that Brown has lowered his profile in other ways as well, noting that he has "deleted posts in which he described the cake and spoke of his lawsuit. That’s not all that has disappeared. The reverend has deleted his Twitter account, and even some sermons from his church have been pulled offline."
Actually, it appears that Brown's twitter account is back online, although it has not been updated since the hate-cake press conference. The twitter account for the church -- with 33 followers and 39 tweets in its three years of existence -- is still up and running.
Stay tuned. It does appear that some journalists in Texas are still watching this once-viral news story.
IMAGES: From Twitter.