They Say They Want A Revolution

Piecemakers say anti-government crusade begins right here in Costa Mesa. Fire Department tries to enforce city codes.

The Orange County Register, February 18, 1999
By Yomi S. Wronge

They work with their hands the way Jesus did.

The men tile floors and construct buildings. The women sew and teach. Their craft store on Adams is a thriving $3 million enterprise with clients as far away as China.

But the Piecemakers are not just about needlepoint and nitting doilies - they're about revolution.

Right here in Costa Mesa.

"I feel God wants Costa Mesa as the city to turn the country back to Him," said Marie Kolasinski, 76, head of the 30-member group living in the Mesa Verde neighborhood.

Kolasinski, who alternately rants about government and extends invitations for tea, said God called on the Piecemakers to expose the imposters of the country and bring America back under His ruling.

Change will be brought about by defiance of laws.

"The laws and codes and all the crap man has invented are more harmful to God than anything," she said.

The group has a history of clashing with city and county officials. Last week, the Costa Mesa Fire Department had to get a court order to inspect the Piecemakers' warehouse on Logan Avenue.

Fire Marshal Tom Macduff and city code inspectors searched the warehouse with backup from Costa Mesa police officers.

"I took some verbal abuse the whole time I was doing the inspection," Macduff said.

A list of misdeamenor violations - from un-permitted construction work to hazardous electrical wiring - will be forwarded to the group. The warehouse will be subject to another inspection down the road to make sure it complies with building regulations.

"It's not going to blow over," Macduff said.

He's right.

Kolasinski said firefighters have harassed the Piecemakers for years, using their position to assert authority over God-loving people. Group members say they will not comply with a list of expensive repairs and have plans to go a step further.

"We're not going to back down from Macduff," Kolasinski said, "Under my constitution and the God I serve he had no right to set foot on our property with those policemen. We're going to sue Macduff for infringing on our constitutional rights. "

After inspectors said they needed a permit to operate a candy counter in 1995, the group wrote a profanity-laced letter to the county Health Department which made vague references to the Oklahoma City bombing.

Kolasinski contends her group is not dangerous, but she believes in the right to bear arms.

She said she never threatened the Health Department or Macduff, but she sees revolt as the only way to restore the country to God's command.

"I'm willing to lose my life to get the country back under the U.S. Constitution and God," the mother of four said, crying.

Orange County Register reporter Carol Masciola contributed to this story.

Who are the Piecemakers?

Marie Kolasinski founded the Piecemakers, formerly known as the Body of Christ, in 1967. They follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and say they are moved by His command - not local authority. They pray and worship at home.

They live in small groups in five homes in the Mesa Verde neighborhood. Members share work and child care and call the government "usurpers of God's authority. "

They say only God has the authority to tell them what to do.

The 30-member group gradually built its business to a corporation with overseas contracts and a reported income of $3 million a year. They said all the money goes back into their "true church" and toward helping others start businesses around the world.

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