This is YHWH's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes! Never were words truer spoken to describe the events surrounding our acquisition of this building and witnessing firsthand the favor of our God upon us. All honor, praise and glory is given unto the Holy One, YHWH the Great King!
To appreciate the magnitude of the miracle, it’s important to understand the history surrounding this unique structure. According to compiled history, in the early 1890’s, industrialist Henry H. Timken, who entertained notables of his day: Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison and President William McKinley, commissioned a Pittsburg architect to design and build an eye-catching structure that would house his horses and carriages. This structure, part of the estate of Henry H. Timken in Canton, Ohio, came to be known as the Timken Stables.
In 1894 the historic structure was built. The 15,500 square-foot two-story barn is circular with four round two-story turrets. The donut-shaped enclosure provided horse stalls and carriage storage, and the central, open area offered an ample training arena of 80 feet in diameter. Each turret is 26 feet in diameter, 14 inch thick walls and a foundation extending 19 feet to bedrock. Each turret is perfectly aligned to the four cardinal directions of a compass and surrounds an open interior courtyard. (This is significant as the turrets mirror/reflect the four cardinal directions of the encampment of Israel, as they camped around the Tabernacle of YHWH that Moshe built. The open area/courtyard is our planned sanctuary, the place where the glory of YHWH rests.)
The Stable caretaker lived in the east turret and the remaining three turrets accommodated haylofts and grain storage. The structure to this day is on the National Register of Historic Places.
On April 24, 1950, the Timken Foundation of Canton presented the Henry Timken mansion and its 30.8 acre tract of land to the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine. The reconditioned home, which could accommodate 72 patients, was dedicated in 1952. The generous donation to the Sisters of Charity did not include the Timken Stables and over the ensuing years, being abandoned, fell into disrepair. Being an eyesore and home to vagrants, city officials in 1988 sought to demolish the once stellar structure.
Around that time, then 17 year old Heidi K. Hickman (now Lancaster) saw in a vision a building that she immediately recognized as the Timken Stables. In the vision she clearly sees a round building with four prominent turrets and from the center of the building were angels ascending and descending, from heaven, upon a ladder. Heidi knew that this was a vision from YHWH and that He was speaking unto her.
The vision reminded her of the story of Jacob’s ladder contained within the Holy Scriptures. In that story, Jacob dreamt of a ladder extending from earth to heaven with angels ascending and descending upon it. After awaking from the dream, Jacob declared, “Truly, YHWH is in this place – and I didn’t know it!” It was there at that particular spot that Jacob, on the very stone that he used as his pillow, anointed and declared that this place is Beit-El, the House of God. We know from the Holy Scriptures that that place was to be the future home of the Beit HaMikdash (The Holy Temple) in Jerusalem.
In comparison to the Jacob’s dream, Heidi’s vision was a metaphor in that it indicated to her that the round building with turrets, the Timken Stables, was to be the future house of God. YHWH had chosen this location and building to be a “little sanctuary (Ezekiel 11:16) for His people. This house would not only provide a place for worship, but would also be a place of refuge in the tumultuous last days.
Shortly after receiving the vision, city officials publicly announced an alternative plan to the demolition of the Timken Stables. They suggested that if someone or some entity would come forward and present an actionable plan for the structure, then tearing down the building would be averted. Heidi, feeling led by the Ruach HaKodesh (The Holy Spirit), seized upon the opportunity. Having little to no money, she contacted a fellow-believer, who was an architect, for help. In assisting her, he referred Heidi to his employer, the owner of the architectural firm. After talking to the owner, he, without requiring compensation, drew up renderings of a remodeled building for her. Heidi also formulated plans for an outreach ministry that would serve both the local and larger communities of the area. Additionally, Articles of Incorporation were drafted and filed with the State of Ohio for the outreach ministry. Equipped with the ministry model and drawings, Heidi made her presentation to city officials. After carefully contemplating her plans (she was the only one to present such a plan), the officials reversed course and called off the planned demolition of the Timken Stables.
Unable to secure the financial backing to bring to fruition her vision for the Timken Stables, the building sat vacant for another 13 years. It wasn’t until 1991, when then professional football player Chris Spielman purchased the building and turned it into a restaurant. He believed that a sport themed restaurant would thrive in that location, being near the Pro Football Hall of Fame. With money earned from his professional career, he transformed a dilapidated old building into one with a purpose (albeit not the heavenly one).
After operating The Stables Hall of Fame Grille for nearly a decade, Chris Spielman sold the business and building in 2001 to Egyptian born, Hany Potroos, who kept it as a Sports Bar/Restaurant. After some profitable years running the business, the economy took a down turn and the business began suffering losses. Maintaining the business was no longer sustainable, so Haney Potroos closed the restaurant and looked to sell both business and building. Unable to find a buyer, the building went into foreclosure by the lending institution, which then placed it on the auction block in September of 2013.
During the years that Hany Potroos was operating the restaurant from the Timken Stables, YHWH was also at work forming the congregation that would one day become Beit HaKavod Messianic Synagogue. The congregation that would occupy the building called the Timken Stables would soon call it home.
From an early age, Heidi Hickman knew that YHWH had His hand on her and that He had placed within (impregnated) her with a vision for ministry. Metaphorically speaking, Heidi understood that her role as a mother was to give birth to this ministry, only to turn it over to the father. Together, the mother and father, in their respective roles, were to nurture and raise the ministry up so that it might fulfill its purpose and calling in the Kingdom. The father’s function was not only to help raise it up, but to lead, protect and bring it to maturity in God.
Throughout Heidi’s formative years, the passion to fulfill the vision for ministry never waned, but only increased as she reached adulthood. Knowing her mission was to give birth to this vision (in an attempt to do YHWH's will) she started a Messianic home group known as the “Star in the East” in the early 90's. It was then that she turned over the ministry to whom she perceived was the father. Over time the group had grown to become a small congregation. Being organized and after several moves, they took up permanent residence in a small shopping plaza.
As time progressed, Heidi came to realize an unsettling truth, what she had given birth to was not an Isaac, but rather an Ishmael. Though the ministry did many positive things and helped many people, there were major issues that overshadowed all the positive gains. The Star in the East became a source of contention and pain, like Ishmael, because it was not the one promised to come. But like the birth of Isaac, so to came the birth of Beit HaKavod, the promised child.
Following is a prophetic word given by Paul Wilbur on the day he performed a concert at The Star in the East Messianic Congregation in 2008. When the prophecy was given, many wrongly assumed that he was making reference to the host congregation, The Star in the East. But when he spoke, he likened a congregation (group) of people to the children of Israel, who was led out from among another people, namely the Egyptians. The children of Israel were led to a long ago promised land. To this day, The Star in the East remains in the same location (store plaza) as when the prophecy was given. But from among that congregation (The Star in the East) one came forth to whom the prophecy foretold and being foretold, was led to a long ago promised place.
Proudly displayed within the halls of Beit HaKavod Messianic Synagogue is the prophetic announcement given through Paul Wilbur. We display it, because it spoke of Beit HaKavod Messianic Synagogue, a congregation that had not been formed at the time that the prophecy was given, but was yet in existence in the mind and heart of God. For YHWH said, “Come out of her My people (Jeremiah 51:45),”and “I am God, and there is none like Me. At the beginning I announce the end, proclaim in advance things not yet done; and I say that My plan will hold, I will do everything I please to do (Isaiah 46:9-10).” For the prophecy declares:
On July 19th, 2008 in Canton, Ohio at a Day Conference and Concert hosted by The Star in the East Messianic Congregation, Paul Wilbur prayed and spoke a prophetic word concerning a particular congregation. All who were in attendance, who heard this prophecy, assumed that he was speaking about the host congregation. But contrary to what the people believed, YHWH envisioned and spoke about a yet to be formed congregation. Being inspired by the Ruach HaKodesh (The Holy Spirit), Paul Wilbur spoke about a future congregation who would one day arise and be YHWH’s anointed vessel in this part of the Kingdom. This yet to be born congregation would later come to be known as Beit HaKavod Messianic Synagogue. As the heavens and the earth awaited the set-time to come to behold the birth of this promised congregation, YHWH was creating the situations and circumstances that would bring about this great event. As YHWH said to Avraham and Sarah about the birth of their son, Yitzchak, He also said to the founders of Beit HaKavod Messianic Synagogue:
“Is anything too hard for YHWH? At the time set for it, at this season next year, I will return to you; and Sarah will have a son (B’resheet/Genesis 18:14).”
Almost a year to the day after the prophetic announcement had been made (11 months and a day to be exact), Beit HaKavod Messianic Synagogue, to everyone’s astonishment and consternation, made its grand entrance into the world on June 20, 2009. As a newborn baby signals to the world that it’s alive by crying out at its birth, so too did this great congregation cry out at its birth. And even as Yitzchak‘s birth was a fulfillment of YHWH’s prophetic word, so too was the birth of Beit HaKavod Messianic Synagogue the fulfillment of YHWH’s promise. Regardless of what others might say, this truly is YHWH’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.
Herein is the prophetic announcement spoken by Paul Wilbur concerning Beit HaKavod before its birth:
“As soon as we drove onto the parking lot right here. YHWH (the Lord) spoke to my heart and what He was saying is: The cloud is moving! The cloud is moving! The cloud is moving! So gather up your families, gather your tents and I will take you to a Land that flows with milk and honey. And I will chase out the giants that stand before you, because I am YHWH (the Lord). I will lead you by a way that you don’t know; paths where your feet have never been. And I will trample down the high places, and I will raise up the low places, for I take you in a way that is prepared for you. So do not look behind, do not grieve, do not be concerned for the days ahead, for even as I have led Moshe through the desert, I will lead you. And if need be water will spring from the rock and bread will appear at your feet and I will be a cloud to shield you by day and a pillar of fire to warm and lead you by night.
Only be careful to do all that I have said to you. Take no concern for tomorrow, what shall we wear, what shall we eat, for is it not written, ‘On the day that you call, I, YHWH (the Lord) will answer and say to you, Here I Am?’ And so call on Me now and I will say in your hearing, ‘Here I Am!’
Do not look to the left and do not look to the right. And do not consider the thoughts that come to steal your joy in the night hours, but blessed is the man who puts his trust in Me. For have not I said, ‘I have prepared for you a future and a hope, plans for good and not for evil.’ And so put your trust in Me as you have and I will lead you out and I will make of your life a testimony, a covenant for the people. And you will know that it is I who have done this for you because of My love, because I am faithful and I prove Myself generation after generation. So gather up the little ones, pull up the tent pegs, for the cloud is moving to bring you into a place that is prepared, a place of abundance, a place of provision, a place of sacrifice, and a place of joy, a place of outpouring, a place of plenty. And others will look and see and they will say, ‘Look at what YHWH (the Lord) has done for them.’ Take your staff in your hand, take your cloak in the other, take up your tent for the cloud is moving.”
After being born at Cedar Oaks Community Room, YHWH has led us away from there unto this holy place. The place as Paul Wilbur prophesied, “that is prepared, a place of abundance, a place of provision, a place of sacrifice, a place of joy, a place of outpouring and a place of plenty.” It is here in this place, in this building that YHWH intends for us to flourish and grow. It is here, in this place, in this building that we are to labor, bringing life and restoration to the whole House of Israel as we proclaim the Good News of Messiah Yahshua. It is here, in this place, in this building that we are to build a House to the Name of YHWH, the God of Israel. A place, where we ask, that His Glory continues to abide among us.
Less than a year from the prophetic announcement, a group of people separated themselves from The Star in the East congregation, being led by YHWH. On June 20, 2009 we came together at Cedar Oaks Community Room giving birth to the vision and prophecy by officially becoming a congregation and naming it, Beit HaKavod (The House of Glory) Messianic Synagogue. Baruch Hashem YHWH!
Being in the community room for only a few months, Heidi felt a strong leading by the Ruach (Spirit) to go and talk to the owner of the restaurant located in the Timken Stables. So strong was this feeling that she stopped what she was doing and drove over to the building. After requesting to speak to the owner, she asked him if it were possible to rent space in a banquet room where our congregation could meet every Tuesday for Torah Study and Saturday for Shabbat service. Without hesitating, he immediately said yes. After hearing what YHWH had done, we thanked Him for keeping His word as declared through Paul Wilbur. He led us to the place that was promised and to the place that He had prepared.
So in July of 2009, we found ourselves holding religious services in the same building that YHWH had, 21 years prior, declared would be the place of worship unto Heidi in a vision. But just being in the building did not satisfy, for we believed that the fulfillment of the promise was to own the building outright. We believed this based on the vision of Heidi and the dream of our Rabbi, Mark Lancaster. This is just several of the many things that YHWH has revealed concerning this place.
On December 23, 2008 during the celebration of Chanukah, Mark Lancaster (before becoming our Rabbi) had a prophetic dream about the Timken Stables. He tells the dream by stating: “As I was reading the Scriptures, I ever so slightly drifted off to sleep. I saw before me this huge round stone building with four prominent turrets. The building was two stories tall and had a round, dome like roof. I immediately recognized that what I was looking at was the Timken Stables, for I know of no other structure like it. For what reason I cannot explain, but I knew that the building that I was being shown was a synagogue. Emanating from within, I saw this powerful, white light being forcefully cast out of every crack in the structure. So bright was this light that it lit up the night sky for all to see. The light was so powerful; it seemed as though the building couldn’t contain it. What I saw was the glory of YHWH abiding and radiating from there.”
Because we believed that YHWH wanted us to own the building, our prayers to Him were directed in such a manner. Messages also were preached to encourage the people to keep trusting in the promises of God, regardless of what one sees or hears. Rabbi Mark and Heidi walked around the entire property, praying and claiming all of it for YHWH. Reminding Him of the promises He made to them many years ago.
In 2010, Hany Potroos shut down all aspects of the restaurant and bar, accepting the finality of the business. Though the business was shutdown, he continued to allow us access to and use of the building. Trusting us, he gave us the key and no longer charged us for renting space. For the first time we had unfettered use of the entire building. We branched out and on faith began to make changes to the interior. We did this because we believed that YHWH was with us and that this was His will. Because the favor of YHWH was upon us, the owner did not say anything about the changes. We began holding services in the center, the very place where Heidi saw angels ascending and descending on a ladder. Though we didn’t own the building, it sure felt as though we did.
Because of non-payment by the owner, the building proceeded into foreclosure. Over the next 3 years, there were realty showings, several auctions and sheriff’s sales, but from it all, nothing materialized. YHWH was blocking every effect of sale until the set-time had come. All the while, we were claiming and using the building as our house of worship, the “little sanctuary” of YHWH.
The year 2013 brought many changes to Beit HaKavod Messianic Synagogue. For one, YHWH confirmed what Rabbi Mark Lancaster had been feeling for a while, that it was time to retire from his firefighting position with the city of Canton. After 25 years of service, the Ruach (Spirit) was saying, “It’s enough,” time to move in a different direction. Heading the mandate from God, Rabbi Mark officially retired from the Canton City Fire Department on June 2, 2013.
Around that time, Rabbi Mark dreamt a dream. In it he saw himself sitting at a table with other people while a public auction was under way. People were making bids to acquire, what he perceived was the Timken Stables, the very building that we were claiming as our own. In the dream he saw himself also making bids on the building. No matter how often or how high the bidding went, he must outbid them all.
After awaking from the dream and contemplating its meaning, Rabbi Mark understood what YHWH wanted him to do. He told his wife, Heidi, about what YHWH has shown him in the dream. He said that there would soon be an auction for the building and that he was not only to participate in the auction, but be the highest bidder. Both agreed that this was a message from the Lord. They also informed the congregation about what YHWH had revealed concerning the building.
Shortly thereafter, information about an auction for the Timken Stables was announced to the public. What’s so ironic about the date of the auction was that it was due to fall on the first day of Sukkot and take place at the Stables. We viewed this as a positive sign from YHWH. What better day to have a promise of YHWH fulfilled, in full view of believers and unbelievers, then on a High Holy Day. This day was a Divine Appointment for all to not only meet with YHWH, but to witness His favor upon His people.
Due to the dream, acquiring the building became the essential thing. All that was needed, we had to acquire, because YHWH had chosen the building and its location as the hub from which His manifest Glory would extend outward to all. Stepping out on faith and being directed by the Ruach HaKodesh (The Holy Spirit), we began gathering together the necessary funds ($20,000) in order to participate in the auction.
Even gathering the money for the participation fee proved to be difficult. Through our best efforts we were only able to collect $17,000. The majority of this money came from Rabbi Mark’s severance package after retiring from his job (this is the reason why YHWH told him it’s time to retire. The Master needed it for a greater purpose). Though we tried, we were $3,000 short of our goal and needed a miracle to happen. With just hours before the auction was to be held, YHWH our God touched the hearts of others who then gave us what we lacked. Through the generosity of these individuals we had reached our goal of $20,000. Baruch Hashem YHWH!
Having now what was needed; we placed our hat in the ring of potential owners of the Timken Stables. Though we entered the building with a resolve to be the highest bidder, because of what YHWH had revealed in the dream, a burden yet lay on the shoulders of Rabbi Mark.
As the auction got underway, Rabbi Mark was the first one to bid. His bid was for $100,000. Slowly others began bidding, but each time that someone raised their hand to cast their bid, Rabbi Mark would immediately counter with a higher bid. He did this because he trusted YHWH.
After making the last counter bid, no other person made an offer. The auctioneer made the final call. There was a hush that fell over the room as everyone looked on. This was the very room where we worshipped every Shabbat, the center area of the building. For this is the very place where Heidi again saw angels ascending and descending on a ladder. After the auctioneer made his final call, he looked and pointed at me and said sold. It was then that we rejoiced and I believe all the angels in the room rejoiced as well. For YHWH’s will was done! YHWH’s promise to Heidi was almost done!
Rabbi Mark signed all the necessary paperwork. According to the agreement he signed, the remaining balance would become due thirty days after the court’s filing of the “Confirmation of Sale”. In other words, after the deduction of the initial deposit of $20,000 minus the sum of Rabbi Mark’s final bid, Beit HaKavod owed the auctioneer $148,300. This amount was due in thirty days. If after thirty days and the remaining balance is not paid, then the deposit of $20,000 if forfeited and the property reverts back to the previous owner.
Our initial reaction was that of jubilation as we praised God. Though others were rejoicing, the realization of what was owed in thirty days caused Rabbi Mark’s rejoicing to be somewhat subdued. The weight he felt before grew exponentially once the auction was over. He knew, because we, as a congregation, gave everything that we had, that there were no more money-wells from which to draw. Literally our drinking cups were dry. It was now up to YHWH.
Rabbi Mark trusted YHWH and believed that He would supply what was needed to pay the remaining balance. Though we didn’t have the money to buy the building outright, we, as a congregation, still participated in the auction because we were convinced that this was the will of God. “For we live by trust, not by what we see (2 Corinthians 5:7).” And “Without trusting, it is impossible to be well pleasing to God, because whoever approaches Him must trust that He does exist and that He becomes a Rewarder to those who seek Him out (Hebrews 11:6).” So our eyes were upon Him.
Weeks would pass without a stir from heaven. In the meantime, the auctioneer, who was responsible for collecting the outstanding balance, would call from time to time to check on the status of our acquiring the remaining balance. Every time he called, Rabbi Mark would say, like the Shunamit woman did as she raced to see the man of God because her son had died, “All is well (2 Kings 4:11-26)”. He assured him that everything was alright and that we were on track to meet the deadline. He did this because he believed in the promises of God. The auctioneer was also aware, because Rabbi Mark informed him earlier, that we would be paying our balance in cash. We knew that obtaining a loan from a financial institution was outside of the realm of possibilities. So our trust was upon our YHWH. El Shaddai would provide us with the monies we needed.
As the day of the deadline came, the blessing we so desperately needed from heaven did not come. Rabbi Mark advised the auctioneer about our situation. He also told him of a scheduled meeting that he and Heidi had the next day with the Director of the Preservation Society. That a possible source of revenue could possibility come from the meeting. Though this was said, Rabbi Mark knew that the money wouldn’t come through the Director. He was hoping that the Director would put them in touch with someone who had the means to help. The auctioneer, concerned yet understanding, gave us the extra day. I believe because of YHWH’s favor upon us, the auctioneer gave them the benefit of the doubt. He told Rabbi Mark to inform him of the meetings outcome when it was over. He responded by stating that he would.
After the meeting had concluded, we remained in the same position as before, needing $148,300 to fulfill our obligation. Returning home, Heidi advised Rabbi Mark not to call the auctioneer but to wait and see what YHWH would do. He readily agreed, as their eyes, hopes and prayers were directed towards Him who abides in heaven.
Within an hour of Heidi saying this, the phone rang. The person on the other end of the phone stated that they wanted to meet us as soon as possible. They only stated that it was very important for us to meet. Rabbi Mark and Heidi scheduled a time and a place to meet. After arriving, the individual informed us that YHWH had directed him to give us what we needed in order to buy the building. Astonished, we informed the individual that we needed $148,300 to close the deal and that amount was no small sum of money. The individual responded by saying that obedience to the will of God was far more important than holding on to the money or using it for other endeavors. This individual, more than anything else, wanted to do what YHWH commanded. By doing God’s will, he believed he would be blessed. Shortly thereafter, he handed over a cashier’s check for the exact amount of money that we needed.
Realizing what had happened; we rejoiced and gave praises to YHWH our God, through His Son Messiah Yahshua. We knew that we had just witnessed a miracle, something people say just doesn’t happen today. We were dumbfounded, not because we didn’t believe what YHWH promised; on the contrary, for “all things are possible to them that believe (Mark 9:23). We were dumbfounded, because YHWH did this great thing for us. We are not important people, not many have ever heard of us. There’s nothing special about us! Compared to others, we are just a small congregation with a small voice and very little strength. But yet YHWH, our God, thought enough of us to do this miracle for us. With everything that is within us we bless His Holy Name! Because of the blessing, we now own the building free and clear. We owe not a dime to anyone or any financial institution. YHWH revealed to all His unmatched Power and Glory. What He has done will resonate throughout the community at large and beyond. This is YHWH’s doing and it is MARVELOUS IN EVERYONE’S EYES.
Now that we are the owners of the former Timken Stables, we have begun, through the leading of the Ruach HaKodesh (The Holy Spirit) and our own labors, the process of renovating. Through divine and human efforts, we are endeavoring to build the house that YHWH so desires. The building is showing years of wear from neglect, a lack of care and preventive maintenance. With YHWH’s help, from whomever He motivates, we are seeking individuals to partner with us to transform this building into Beit HaKavod (a House of Glory). We are also keenly aware that a storm of judgment is coming. It will be a storm of immense fury, shaking the very foundations of our nation. It will punish and not spare. During this storm of judgment, we believe that Beit HaKavod Messianic Synagogue is posed to be a fortress of hope, a shining city on a hill and a beacon of light for the lost, hurting and afraid. It is and will be a place of worship and a place of refuge to all whole house of Israel and those who join her from the nations of the world. O what a beautiful place Beit HaKavod Messianic Synagogue will be!