Church building in foreclosure
Abiding Word consents to process, its pastor says
STERLING – Abiding Word Church’s downtown building is in foreclosure, but the church consents to the procedure, its pastor said Monday.
Friday, Community State Bank of Rock Falls published a legal notice in Sauk Valley Media about the foreclosure of the building at 312 E. Fourth St.
The Rev. Scott Porter called it a “consent foreclosure,” and said the church is trying to work out an arrangement with the bank.
The church built a new 18,000-square-foot building at 806 E. Lynn Blvd. in 2008.
As part of its financing deal, Abiding Word was required to apply any capital gain from the Fourth Street property toward the mortgage for the new building, which is held by BMO Harris Bank, Porter said.
Because of the falling real estate market, the church won’t see any gain, Porter said. The church bought the Fourth Street property for $221,500, he said.
Sterling Township has expressed an interest in buying the downtown building for a youth club, but it has said it can spend no more than $200,000. The township already is renting the building for the club.
Porter said Abiding Word wanted to remove the downtown building as a liability. It hoped for a win-win arrangement to “help the township, help the kids and help the church,” he said.
He said the situation with the downtown building has no effect on the Lynn building.
The church has seen its membership “bounce back” to an average weekly attendance of 350, he said. But he said the church has yet to reach the numbers it had before its associate pastor, Paul Sheley, left to form Oneighty Church in late 2010.
In March 2010, Abiding Word reported that its average weekly attendance was 550, with members from both Lee and Whiteside counties.
Last fall, Sheley said Oneighty had a membership of 135. At the time, the church had just closed on the purchase of the old Rock River First Church of God building on U.S. Route 30, west of Rock Falls.
Oneighty still is having Sunday services at Woodlawn Arts Academy in Sterling, according to the church’s website.
Porter has been with Abiding Word since 1986; the church was founded a year earlier. He took the reins when founding pastor Jim Evans resigned in 1988.