Wasilla Bible Church
The Wasilla Bible Church is a non-denominational, evangelical Christian church in Wasilla, Alaska. Pastor Larry Kroon describes the congregation as "socially conservative." Wasilla Bible Church offers ministries devoted to family affairs.
Theology and practice
The Wasilla Bible Church website lists five "Core Commitments" at its website, "The Centrality of Christ, The Authority of Scripture, The Priority of Prayer, Authenticity in our Spiritual Life, [and] Community in our Congregational Life".
The church was founded in 1977. It asked Larry Kroon to become pastor in 1978. The church's first building in Wasilla was completed in 1979, with capacity for seating 250 people. A second story was added in 1984, then a larger sanctuary added in 1996. The property was then sold to another church, enabling Wasilla Bible Church to buy 20 acres (81,000 m2) of land, also in Wasilla. A new church building was dedicated on October 1, 2006. The church hosts up to 1000 parishioners. The church has strong recruitment practices. In Caring for the Harvest Force in the New Millennium, authors Tom A.Steffen and Fredrick Douglas Pennoyer describe Wasilla Bible Church as doing a "superb job" of bringing teenagers "to commit to Jesus." Arson did over $1 million in damage to the church on Friday, Dec 12, 2008.
Media scrutiny and controversy
Following nomination of congregant and then-governor of Alaska Sarah Palin as candidate for Vice President of the United States, Wasilla Bible Church became a focus of the media. “When a presidential candidate surprises the country with a relatively unknown choice, then all hell breaks loose,” Larry Sabato said. “It did with Ferraro, it did with Quayle, it’s happening with Palin."
A Time correspondent reported a program insert announcing a program to help gays "overcome" their homosexuality. The pastor, Larry Kroon, responded to this article in a Fox News interview September 9, 2008. When Fox reporter Greta Van Susteren asked for comment about inclusion of the announcement, Pastor Kroon replied, "When the subject of homosexuality comes up, people that matter to me come to mind. And over the past year, I've had different people in our congregation speak of homosexuals in ways that I did not want to hear our people speak." He went on to say, "And I wanted my people, if at all possible, to hear somebody in their tone and their manner because I don't think the church has done a very good job of speaking of this issue in a gracious tone and manner."
On the evening of December 12, 2008, the church was damaged by a still unknown arsonist with damage estimated at about $1 million. An accelerant was poured around the entrances while five women were inside; they escaped without serious injury. Palin apologized to her fellow church members in case the fire was connected to "undeserved negative attention" the church has received since she became the vice presidential candidate Aug. 29.
- Hopfinger, Tony; Fireman, Ken (September 1, 2008). "McCain Defends Palin's Fitness as Some Alaskans Question It". Bloomberg.
- KIRK JOHNSON and KIM SEVERSON, 'In Palin’s Life and Politics, Goal to Follow God’s Will', New York Times, September 5, 2008, 
- Miller, Lisa; Coyne, Amanda (September 2, 2008). "A Visit to Palin's Church; Scripture and discretion on the program in Wasilla". Newsweek.
- WBC Core Commitments
- Hopkins, Kyle (October 12, 2005). "Land deal moves King's Chapel into larger facility". Anchorage Daily News.
- Hopkins, Kyle (November 9, 2005). "Church constructs new home". Anchorage Daily News.
- “Palin hasn't pushed religious agenda”, George Bryson and Richard Mauer, Miami Herald, 9-14-08 
- Steffen, Tom A.; Pennoyer, Fredrick Douglas (2001). Caring for the Harvest Force in the New Millennium. William Carey Library.
- Judson, Berger; Carl Cameron and Dan Springe (2008-09-10). "Political Teams Battle to Define Palin in Alaska", Fox News.com. Retrieved on September 15, 2008
- Thornburgh, Nathan (September 2, 2008). "Mayor Palin: A Rough Record". Time Magazine.
- Greta Van Susteren interview with Larry Kroon Gov. Sarah Palin's Current and Past Pastors 'On the Record' (Sep 9, 2008) http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,420093,00.html
- "Still no leads in Wasilla church arson". Alaska Dispatch. December 9, 2009. Retrieved December 23, 2012.
- "Palin's Wasilla Church Damaged By Arson". Associated Press. December 13, 2008. Retrieved December 13, 2008.