A creative-arts program under the international evangelical organization World Olivet Assembly has identified itself as the buyer of Temple University’s former Montgomery County art school campus.
The program, Creatio International, plans a “new center for artists and architects” at the former Tyler School of Art campus in Elkins Park, according to an online announcement shared late Wednesday by a World Olivet Assembly spokesperson.
The Inquirer had reported earlier, based on mortgage records and other documents, that the religious organization appeared to be the buyer of the Cheltenham Township property, paying $3 million, but was not then immediately able to learn any other details.
“We are very grateful for this beautiful campus that God has blessed us with just before the end of the year,” Creatio said in its announcement. “It has great potential to be developed into an ideal place for work, fellowship and education.”
In its announcement, Creatio noted the property’s proximity to central Philadelphia as well as its “offices, classrooms, library, dormitory and residential facilities for staff.”
Creatio staff intend to present its plans for the campus to Cheltenham Township officials in the coming weeks, it said. As of Thursday, township officials had heard nothing of the group’s acquisition.
World Olivet Assembly is “a global denomination of evangelical churches and para-churches,” according to the group’s website. Creatio, “an international Christian art and design fellowship,” is a ministry under World Olivet Assembly.
World Olivet Assembly was founded by alumni of Olivet University, a faith-based college established by Korean American pastor David Jang, who remains the school’s international president, according to the California-based university’s site.
World Olivet Assembly does not identify its leadership on its website, but in 2014, when it did, Jang was listed as the group’s president, according to an archived web page. The organization did not immediately respond to a phone message Thursday asking about his current position with the group.
Ronn Torossian, an Olivet University spokesperson, said Olivet University and World Olivet Assembly “are two separate organizations.”
“Olivet University is a private, Christian university based in California, which operates extension sites and campuses in various states,” he said. “It shares the statement of faith of the World Olivet Assembly.”
Olivet University pleaded guilty in February to charges in connection with an embezzlement scheme involving an executive of Newsweek magazine’s former ownership group, which has been linked to Jang in multiple published reports.