GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Only on WINK News. The Qur'an burning Florida pastor and members of his controversial church sit down with WINK's Genevieve Judge for a one on one interview in Gainesville.
Last week they announced they wanted to move to southwest Florida. They're now defending their move south and said that moving to Fort Myers isn't about being in a cult, it's about following their beliefs.
The Dove World Outreach Center will be moving from Gainesville to southwest Florida in a matter of months. The leader of the church, Pastor Terry Jones, said he knows the controversy about burning Qur'ans will follow him to Fort Myers but he and his son said they're just following their beliefs and said they're not a cult.
The Dove World Outreach Center is no stranger to people throughout Florida and the nation. It was last September on the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks that Jones wanted to burn Qur'ans. That was cancelled only to have members of his church burn them anyway in March.
"We are trying to get Americans to be more vocal. Exercise their first amendments rights," said Terry Jones.
Jones and his organization 'Standup America' will be moving to southwest Florida by the end of the year. Jones said his son Luke will be in charge of the actual church in Lee County.
"We hope that we find people there that are more concerned or are concerned about the big picture of America and not only about concerned about what is going on in Fort Myers," said Terry.
"There are over 300 churches in Gainesville and so far Gainesville has not really been open to our message," said Luke Jones.
The Jones' said Gainesville has a small town mentality and they're ready to bring their message somewhere else. The nearly 30 member church will be moving together, which they said is not a cult, it's a matter of people following what they believe.
"What is a cult? What makes an organization and church a cult? 90% of the people that say we're a cult could not answer that question," said Luke.
"I think they need to re-read their Bible. All of the disciples they were asked to do the same thing. Jesus was the word of God. He was the living church," said Wayne Sapp, a church member.
The church and organization doesn't have a location in southwest Florida picked yet but they are coming.
"We are coming to Fort Myers, I believe that is 100% true, yes," said Terry.
Pastor Jones said they plan to leave Gainesville and move to Fort Myers in November sometime. Coming up on WINK News on Wednesday at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., hear from the residents of Gainesville. They'll share what kind of impact the church had on their town and how they feel about them moving.