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Church faces financial woes

New Life Christian Fellowship has found themselves with a dwindling membership, a $380,000 building and a financial crisis.
“We believe we can build a church to the point that it’s self sustaining, but I don’t think that will happen quickly enough to save us from the bank,” said the Rev. Ron Jonathan, pastor at the church.
The 25-member church is currently having trouble paying off the $380,000 building, which was originally conceived as a daycare.
“Let’s just say that the administration that was in charge before I was elected as pastor and was overseeing
it evidently didn’t see all that was involved in running a daycare and was losing money,” said Jonathan.
The building was built five years ago, and church members are unable to pay the mortgage.
The building, which includes daycare rooms, a gym, kitchen and upstairs offices, is no longer in use.
Church activities are being held in their older building, and electricity use is kept to a minimum in both.
Members hope to find a way out of their financial bind. Their current solution is to share facilities and merge with another church.
“I really do think it’s going to pan out,” said Jonathan. “There’s a lot of people struggling financially in these last five or 10 years with the economy dropping, and it’s caught a lot of people by surprise.”
If two churches were to merge, they could hold services together in the main sanctuary, which holds 250.
New Life Christian Fellowship is also open to giving up the new building for another church’s use.
Although the church has taken out an advertisement, they have yet to receive interest. Members aren’t worried, however. They believe the Lord will provide.
“Isn’t that what faith is?” asked Carolyn Butler, a member. “When it looks like everything’s wrong, still believing?”
Butler and members like her refuse to give up on their church.
“I’ve grown up in this church,” said Anita Nagle, a member. “I’ve been here since I was a little girl.”
They’re also not ashamed to ask for help.
“The Bible says you have not because you ask not,” said Butler. “We’re asking.”
The entire church is involved in finding a solution.
“Right now we’re having business meetings every other Sunday night, and the whole church sits in and shares ideas,” said Jonathan.
No matter what avenue they end up taking, members refuse to give up.
“This is my home church,” said Debra Smith, a member. “This is my church family. There’s no other place I’d like to be.”
by Amy Wadsworth

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