Monday, October 15, 2007

Horizon "Christian Fellowship" in Rancho Santa Fe, CA - Bad Christians, Bad Neighbors

For the last 15 years or so, I've enjoyed running to help stay healthy. Presently, I live in Rancho Santa Fe, CA, and run a few miles in my neighborhood three days a week. This past week, I had something happen to me while on my run that I've never had happen in all my years of running.

Just down the road from my home is the Horizon Christian Fellowship church and school. On my runs for the past year or so, I've included running around the parking lot of Horizons. (Click here to get a satellite view of my running path and where the Horizon Christian Fellowship church and school are located along my run.) This week, while running through the parking lot of this "Christian fellowship," I was stopped by a man who worked at Horizon's who asked me if I ran there often. I told him I was a neighbor and ran three days a week, and sometimes took this route. He said I was not welcome to run through their parking lot, and if I did, he would call the police and file charges! He said it was "against the law" for me to run next to a school, and there was nothing he could do about it (a complete lie, because Horizon is a private church and school, and of course there is no "law" preventing them from allowing neighbors to run through their parking lot.) I talked to another neighbor who told me that he too was stopped when jogging there and given the same stern warning from Horizon's Head Master.

I've been a Christian my whole life, and I'm glad the church I go to ENCOURAGES staying physically fit, and would welcome any and all to use their property to stay fit and healthy.

Shame on the Horizon Christian Fellowship for telling lies, being bad Christians, bad neighbors, and poor advocates of good health.

Maybe next time I run through their parking lot, I'll bring along a video camera, tape them calling the police, and post it on You Tube. If I'm lucky, maybe they'll use a taser gun on me!

Hopefully the good people at Horizon will step up and see this policy gets changed. I've emailed several staff there with my story, and so far, none have replied.


PS: I just noticed Horizon's is having Dinesh D'Souza speak there. I met Mr. D'Souza when I sat on a jury here in San Diego where he was found guilty of not paying a large bill to his lawyer.


bromix from Ubuntu Forums said...

That's just plain nonsense! Did he even say what his reasoning for not wanting you to run there? While not coming out and saying it, it seems to me he was making some unfounded allusions to your character. And, quite frankly, that's just completely adverse to Christian character. But...then again, today, is it?

Josh said...

I know you Rancho Santa Fe-ans are upscale and exclusive and have very high "standards" for "the kind of people" you allow in your community, but this is over the top.

Let's review what you just did. Based on one guy, who may or may not even be affiliated with that campus (did he work there? was he just passing through?) you feel you have the right to bash the entire Horizon church organization.

You know, that's like me declaring you and all other high-profile technology folks/bloggers as stupid, uninformed, and unethical, simply because John Dvorak is one of you.

One person does not necessarily represent the whole. Shame on you; you should know better.

For the record -- I went to Horizon High School back in the day, and attended the church at the same time. And the person you described, well, his actions are nothing like anyone else I've ever met or talked with, including the head of Horizon itself, Mike Macintosh.

Maybe that guy was off his nut about the law, maybe he wasn't, maybe he was just concerned for reasons you don't know.

But don't ever bash another group because of one person and then come off all holier-then-thou with "Well, at least my church doesn't..." because that shows that you've missed the boat as to what it's all about. That's bigotry, intentional or otherwise.

Kevin, I hope you actually choose to keep this comment on your page, and not delete it just because I don't agree with your entry.

Kevin Carmony said...


Thanks for your comments. I'm happy to post it, as you bring up a valid point...

My bad...I should have pointed out it was the Head Master who told my neighbor he couldn't run there. The gentleman who spoke with me knew of the Head Master's desires, because he relayed the fact that the Head Master had already "warned" my neighbor.

It was made quite clear that this was a mandate from Horizon, and not "one man."

Also, I forwarded my story to Horizon's Senior Pastor, Bob Botsford, as well as several other employees at Horizon ( None responded.

The reason I shared this experience in my blog, was in hopes those at Horizon (students, staff, church goers, etc.) who felt it wasn't very neighborly or Christian to have such a policy, would make sure it was changed, and neighbors welcomed to use their facility in such a healthy way. So far, even though I sent my story to several there, only you have responded.

As for Rancho Santa Fe-ans being "upscale and exclusive," you're making my point. I'M not the one saying you can't run through the neighborhood. It's Horizon who is "over the top" with such a "we don't want you here" policy.

I'm sure the students and church goers of Horizon are wonderful people. Hopefully they'll try to bring some change to Horizon to make it a friendlier neighbor. We'll see.


Josh said...


First, thanks for responding to my previous comment. I'm glad you sent that letter to the Horizon folks, because they definitely need to know that either their policy or that guy or both aren't right. Because given what you said he said, yeah, it ain't neighborly of him. I don't think that his actions or that particular policy (wherever it came from) reflect the church as a whole though. That policy should be changed, or at least reviewed for new interpretation or something.

I saw that Horizon page and the list of pastors & associate pastors; did you send it to all of them? That's what I'd do. It is indeed the North County outgrowth of the main Horizon church. You may have more luck contacting some of the head folks at that church, at this page:

Christians are supposed to be good neighbors. We're supposed to be welcoming. Now, I don't know anything about that policy, or where it came from -- who knows; maybe it's come from some of the California laws of zoning, use for certain activities, or some other reason. No clues. But there's got to be a way for the headmaster to work with the community more. Because what happened is not anything that should have happened. I truly hope there's just some miscommunication or misunderstanding somewhere, either between people or in the interpretation of how to put the policy into action.

By the way, I actually found your blog (and this story!) from an article and comment over here:, that you'd switched to Ubuntu. Crazy small world about how people run into things, good and not-so-good, in the internet and in the real world while jogging.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kevin,
We are a second generation Rancho family, and love the outdoors and neighborhood like you do. Our little ones actually attend the school that you like to run through, so when a friend sent me this blog, I was really surprised. As Christians we are called to "love our neighbor as ourselves" and I am so sorry that you had a negative experience. Are you positive you spoke with our headmaster Dr. Kush? Truly in all the time I have known him, he has shown himself as a quiet, polite, soft spoken man who works hard to listen to families and address their needs at our school. Again, I am so sorry if there was a misunderstanding. As a mom, although you seem like you are a pretty nice guy, I have real concerns about anyone, especially a non-parent, male stranger who didn't register with the office being on campus around our children. Just like public schools, there are a lot of signs posted telling visitors to sign in at the office and even parents are required to wear a visitor's badge at all times. Those on campus everyday are required to have extensive background checks,wear badges and are even required to be fingerprinted. There are actual state and federal laws the school can get in trouble for not following that cover when the playground can be used, by whom, and what bathrooms are for students only.If this had happened at the public school I formerly taught at, the procedure we were trained in was to call office immediately who would call the police first due to extreme saftey and liability concerns. The kids are not only on the main and church campus classrooms, but walk from church to school and have recess exactly in the area where you run.I wish our world were safer- but just last year all the schools on the road had a lock down due to a parent from another school reporting a man with a gun in the area! School violence and deadly shootings are commonplace these days- it is so hard to believe. I hope that you reconsider being angry and I hope that we can be good neighbors. It matters to me that you know that people care that you had a bad experience and that truly, the bottom line is safety for the 500 kids who attend our school. If there were not children involved, I don't think anyone would have stopped you, they'd probably invite you to service though! Speaking of church, I hope to see you there sometime, you never know it might not be as bad as you think...
Take care-
Your Neighbors Who Care

mrben said...

What type of "school" is it? I can imagine them being a bit jumpy if it's a school for kids. It doesn't excuse their approach, but it does at least provide a reason.

Kevin Carmony said...

Dear Anonymous,

I don't run "through" the school. As you can see from the map and route I posted in my blog, I run along the far outside of the property. I am always running either through a parking lot or a vacant field that runs along the back of their property. There are no gates or signs notifying someone they're not welcome there or that they need to "sign in" before running through the parking lot. I've been running this way for over a year, and in that time I have never come anywhere near any children. The only part of my run that gets close to where children might be (I rarely see them there however), is for about 20 yards of my run through one of the parking lots, where on the other side of the parking lot there is an outside area where I occasionally see children playing, BUT they are behind a big, secure fence and there are teachers present. It would be impossible for someone to snatch one of them away.

As a parent, you have a million times higher liklihood that your child will one day die from obesity than from being abducted by a stranger running by their school. "While most parents spend a good amount of time cautioning their children about strangers, experts agree that in reality, it's much more likely a child will be victimized by someone they know. It could be a youth pastor, a teacher, a trusted family friend or ---- even more likely ---- a relative." ( "...80 percent to 90 percent or more of all child molestations are committed by people who know the victim. And sex offenders who abduct children they don't know make up only about 5 percent..."

However, Obesity in America is a REAL problem. ( I would think it would be good for children (from the saftey of their fence) to see a 48-year old man who is healthy, in shape, not obese, and out for his daily run.

As I pointed out in my blog, I wasn't the one who spoke to your headmaster, that was my neighbor, but the man who spoke to me referenced your headmaster having spoken to my neighbor. I'm sure he IS trying to "address the needs" of his partitioners, and perhaps it is them who are paranoid about people jogging through the parking lot (even though it doesn't put these joggers in contact with any children).

I certainly understand security IN the school, but this wasn't about going in the school, using their bathrooms, etc. I was running through a parking lot that is usually quite vacant and in areas where I do not come in any contact at all with children, as you are separated by fences all the way. I have run through the parks of many public schools in my life and never been stopped, and I see other joggers doing the same.

It's a shame that the occasional media story about "a man with a gun" has to destroy the normal, friendly, traditional interaction of a good neighborhoods everywhere. I have raised four children, and I taught them to be reasonably cautious, but not live their life so afraid and paranoid that they live it under a rock, for if they do, that "one man with a gun" will ruin neighborhoods all over America. School shootings are NOT "commonplace" anymore than airplane crashes are common. Your child has a greater chance of being killed by lightening or a spider bite than he or she does from being shot in school. Paranoia will destroy ya.

Go out, leave your pepper spray at home, and enjoy a run around the neighborhood. You may find it's not as dangerous as you think. =)


Kevin Carmony said...

Here is the link
that got cut off in my previous post about strangers
abducting children.

Anonymous said...

I am the "other" neighbor that Kevin referred to that also got booted from running through the outside perimeter of the parking lot of New Horizon. And, yes, it was the Head Master that stopped me and told me I was on private property and not allowed to run through the parking lot.

For the record, those of us that run for exercise in Rancho Santa Fe find it hard to find a safe place to run. There is less than a mile of sidewalk through town. However, making a loop around the outside perimeter of New Horizon adds eight tenths of a mile to the daily exercise run. As Kevin pointed out, the school is completely surrounded by a six foot fence. At the time of morning I run, rarely have I seen any children within that fence boundary (they're probably in class), and I have never seen a child out there without many adults present. It's not like I'm standing and peering through the fence stalking kids. A guy in gym trunks running at a rapid rate on the outside perimeter of a parking lot for 60 seconds is hardly a threat.

In fairness to the Head Master, in telling me I wasn't welcome there, he did it in a sensitive way and claimed that he was reacting to a complaint from one of the mothers. I tried to explain that I was just a neighbor on my daily morning run and hadn't had any complaints before, but he was intransigent in his willingness to listen or be open minded about being neighborly. It appears he was over reacting and pandering to the most extreme and paranoid of mothers. As Head Master, he should pull up his pants and exercise a little common sense for the the school of which he has been given authority.

The Christian church I attend allows neighbors to park there cars in our parking lot, unload their bicycles and use it as a base for their morning rides. Isn't this reasonable and neighborly?

By reacting to every fringe mothers complaint, we have schools now giving 11 year old girls the birth control pill, without the parents knowledge, but we're not allowed to send our children to school with a Tylonal pill without the schools permission. Sure this may be the wishes of three or four percent of the fringe parents, but it's over reacting and regulations gone amuck.

Horizon doesn't need 500 principles--just ONE that will wear his own pants and exercise a little common sense.

Anonymous said...

I believe the policy (to provide a safe environment for the children who attend) is: between the hrs of 7 am and 330 pm you need to check in at the office to be on any part of horizons property, that includes the church the school and the open lot in the back. Any time before or after is OK to use the grounds just ask Rancho Santa Fe soccer who use the grounds after 330 pm. If you ask you will know

Anonymous said...

Kevin - There's a great run going the other direction; north on Via de Santa Fe east on El Sicomoro, south on Calle Feliz to the reservior, around the reservior and back onto Via de... It's about the same distance and you cut across one person's private property. They're probably not christians so they probably won't mind.

Kevin Carmony said...

Thanks for the tip, I'll give it a try.

is where I have been running, which is really nice.