Lithonia Church Threatened with Foreclosure
Lithonia Church, Flat Rock, standing for a good number of years, is now threatened with foreclosure. It is the oldest Afro-American church in DeKalb County seven miles distant from Lithonia City, Georgia. It made its debut earlier than 1860. Last Friday on 24th December 2010, a member came earlier than usual and was taken aback to see the locks of all the five doors had been changed. T.A. Bryant Jr. has been coming to church 1929. He can’t remember such a devastating year for the church.
A building of the church standing for five years that is inclusive of a sanctuary that can seat 300 members has been foreclosed. The members were taken completely by surprise as they had no idea that the finances of the church were in such a bad shape. The foreclosing entity is Sun Trust Bank.
In the middle of December during Sunday service, over 60 members of the congregation were in a state of shock. Senior pastor, Binita Miles said during a November sermon that although 2010 had been messy by the middle of 2011 blessings will come down. Miles had put up a brave front but none knows what the fate of Flat Rock church is right now. Since the opening of the new sanctuary in 2005 nothing has been good for the church. The church had overextended itself – taking on a loan more than it could manage.
Miles said that till then everything was okay with the church. It was not sensible to construct a church with a capacity to seat nearly 300. There was no need for anything so big. During the lifetime of Miles the congregation had never been more than 200.
Last summer the loan due amount of the church was $750,000 carrying a monthly payment of $6,000 informed Jamie Jenkins of North Georgia Conference (Union Methodist Church). Daphne Wood whose family has been members of the church since six generations said the figures were staggering. Presently the church has in its savings $1,500 and some change. Jenkins said they had tried all alternatives. He said, “We found another church building for them to move into, but they weren’t interested. Then we found another congregation to merge with them, but they didn’t like that either. Finally, the bank gave them a 90-day extension. Frankly, I think the bank did everything they could to keep this from happening. No bank in the world wants to foreclose on a church”.
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