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    Church Foreclosures Surge, seen as ‘next wave’ in crisis

    Church Foreclosures Surge, seen as ‘next wave’ in crisis

    According to the Wall Street Journal (and reported at, nearly 200 churches have been foreclosed on by banks.  In the previous two years, only eight foreclosures occurred.

    Here's part of the article, which you can read over here...

    Since 2008, nearly 200 religious facilities have been foreclosed on by banks, up from eight during the previous two years and virtually none in the decade before that, according to real-estate services firm CoStar Group, Inc. Analysts and bankers say hundreds of additional churches face financial struggles so severe they could face foreclosure or bankruptcy in the near future.

    "Churches are the next wave in this economic crisis," says Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., president and founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, a non-profit civil-rights group, who works with pastors around the country to help churches negotiate better terms with their bankers.

    Religious denominations of all kinds have suffered in recent years as donations have declined, with many Catholic parishes closing and synagogues merging their congregations. But the property-financing problems have been concentrated among independent churches, which while seeking to expand lack a governing body to serve as a backstop to financial hardship.

    "Religious organizations may be subject to the laws of God but they are also subject to the laws of economics," said Chris Macke, senior real-estate strategist at CoStar. Many troubled churches, he said, are in states such as California, Florida, Georgia and Michigan, which also have some of the highest home-foreclosures rates in the country.

    In many cases, churches ran into trouble after borrowing to build bigger houses of worship needed to accommodate growing congregations in once-booming housing markets.

    Has the economic crisis made it hard for your church to pay their mortgage on time?





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    1. Mark Triplett on Fri, January 28, 2011

      Plain & simple, do God’s people put our trust in Him that He will will provide us with our needs or do we put our trust in the First National Bank on the corner?

      Churches can be debt free, you can expand buildings & ministry and remain debt free.

      I’ve worked at both kinds of churches, I’d take debt free any day of the week! BTW, it’s not a bad way for all of us to live too!

    2. Mark Brooks on Sat, January 29, 2011

      This article has spread like wild fire on the internet and Twitter.  Fox News jumped in yesterday with their own version of it.  I was contacted by the WSJ reporter before they ran their story and gave her a lot of facts that were ignored or left out of the article.  I have posted extensively on them. 

      The article in short overstates the problem.  0.000597% is the number of all US congregations facing foreclosure!  Hardly a surge.  The article also oversimplifies the issue.  The implication is that the economy, unemployment and thus a decline in giving is the issue.  However the facts as reported by groups like Giving USA showed that giving to religion ONLY declined by 0.01% in 2009.  Churches have historically weathered recessions before and will again.  In many of the instances of foreclosure there is more to meet the eye than simply a decline in giving.

      I am amazed at how we are responding not upon facts but a few stories.  One church in foreclosure is bad but we are not at the point of a surge or crisis.  We need to get our facts straight and not respond to knee jerk media articles.  Simply because a church in California or Georgia is struggling does not mean your church will struggle too.

      At the end of the day one churches will find that if you have a compelling vision, good vision trumps bad economy.

    3. Steve Farmer on Mon, January 31, 2011

      My family has been memebers at Open Door Baptist Church in Rochester, NY for almost 10 years. Yesterday we had a ceremony celebrating the final payment of the mortgage with a burning of the IOU. Not only were we able to pay off the mortgage early, but we were able to add an addition to the building by paying cash for it. So, not only do we have the original building, but an addition with no more debt.
      We are by no means a “rich church” nor are we overly large, we run under 1000. It’s all thanks to God; His principles and his Grace.

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