One local church is no longer in the red thanks to a self-started committee which aimed to be rid of the mortgage by the February 2012 due date.
Moorings Presbyterian Church celebrated the pay off of its $3.1 million debt during a “Burn the Mortgage” celebration this past Saturday.
According to Associate Pastor Jim Kirk, the debt was incurred after the construction of a new sanctuary, a community center and a gymnasium at the church campus on Harbor Drive in Naples.
“Through hard work, trust and faith we were able to raise a lot of money in a short amount of time in a bad economy,” Kirk said.
According to Kirk, the Rev. Chuck Cary, who was the former head of staff from 2004 to 2010, worked to build the support for the construction of the new buildings. The construction began in 2000 and ended 10 years later, Kirk said. Those funds aided in paying off the $15 million project, he said. A difference of $3.1 million was borrowed from Northern Trust bank to account for the remaining balance of the project.
According to Kirk, Cary recruited retired banker and 6-year church member, Malcolm Chancey, to spearhead the Burn the Mortgage committee which began in May 2010.
Chancey said the $3.1 million was raised in about a year and a half through donations from about 200 church members. Those donations ranged from $20 to $500,000, Chancey said.
Nine-year church member Glenn Haughie said the decision to move forward with the construction of the new buildings was made before the recession and that the congregation was worried about paying off the debt after construction.
Haughie said the burning of the mortgage should provide hope and inspiration to others in this economy.
“It’s quite an extraordinary milestone,” Haughie said.
According to Chancey, although the road to becoming debt-free was difficult, the end result was worth it.
“I think no matter what the difficulty is in the economy, if you have a true faith and belief in what you’re doing, you’ll get it done,” Chancey said. “It just takes a lot of hard work, a lot of focus and a lot of teamwork.”