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Community helps historic church avoid foreclosure

1:46 AM, Feb 11, 2013   |    comments
St. Mary's Missionary Baptist Church in St. Augustine avoids foreclosure
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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla---Community members in St. Augustine help the historic St. Mary's Baptist Missionary Church avoid foreclosure. 

"Well it lets us know that God is in the plan. He is in the plan," said Lenonis Adkinson, a community member.

Adkinson is not a member of St. Mary's Missionary Baptist Church, but ever since she heard the church was going into foreclosure, she joined the plan to save the church.

"It's kingdom building, it's about saints of God getting together. It doesn't matter what church, what denomination, this church is in need," said Adkinson.

Adkinson along with her fellow church member at the Family Worship Center joined together to help fundraise for St. Mary's. They both helped sell tickets for dinner plate fundraisers and even helped cook food.

"When you have a ministry that's in trouble, it's here when you're a Christian and it's just something that hit home," said Tranesha Hubert, a community member.

And home it was especially for Carolyn James. She was raised at the church and moved away at 11-years old, but nine years ago she came back and says the news of the foreclosure was unnerving.

"I call it a storm. You know, it rocks you a little bit, but you have to remember who you are and who is in charge, and that's almighty God," said James.

The church was granted a loan from the bank for restoration, but after the 2008 recession it couldn't make payments - accruing $211,000 more than it originally owed. But after fundraising efforts, TD Bank has allowed the church a six month reprieve where it can reorganize itself to find a long-term solution.

"The re-set button has been hit and that's all we asked for. We never asked to be relieved of our financial distress or burden, we just wanted an opportunity to start all over," said Pastor Byron Hodges of St. Mary's Missionary Baptist Church.

The church set out to raise $50,000 after news of it possibly going into foreclosure by February 13. Pastor Byron Hodges says they raised nowhere near that, but the community response was so overwhelming, they are now moving forward with the bank.

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