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Formerly major church is folded into another

Published: Saturday, Sept. 27 2008 12:23 a.m. MDT

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A pastor who once led one of Tulsa's most prominent charismatic churches and served as an adviser to then-President-elect Bush has shut down his church. Bishop Carlton Pearson preached his final sermon at New Dimensions Church on Sept. 7. The church has been folded into All Souls Unitarian Church, the world's largest church in that denomination.

"I wanted a place where my people could find safe harbor," he said. "They're already outcasts in the evangelical-charismatic community.

New Dimensions Church once was known as Higher Dimensions Family Church. Eight years ago, the church had about 6,000 members. The Rev. Pearson then began preaching that all people would go to heaven, a theology he refers to as "the gospel of inclusion." Not long after, evangelical leaders began spurning the Rev. Pearson, the membership in his church — renamed New Dimensions Church — fell to a few hundred and the church's south Tulsa property was lost in foreclosure. But liberal religious leaders embraced the Rev. Pearson, and New Dimensions Church affiliated with the United Church of Christ, one of the nation's most liberal denominations.

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