Mortgage Burning Signals New Beginning, Not an Ending

Post a Comment » Written on September 22nd, 2008     
Filed under: News
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO (September 22, 2008) – Members of Faith Covenant Church culminated a weekend of celebration by burning a copy of the church mortgage during Sunday’s regular worship service.

FireThe church recently paid off its $436,254 loan. The church initially borrowed $170,000 in 1978, says pastor Karen Lichlyter-Klein. The mortgage grew when the church financed its building addition.

The celebration wasn’t just about paying off a bill. “Burning our mortgage signifies more of a new beginning than an ending of debt,” says Lichlyter-Klein “We are really focusing on how this event in our history positions us for new and exciting ministry with and for God. Of course, we are excited to not have to make that mortgage payment, but more importantly, it’s a chance to ask God, ‘What’s next for Faith?’ ”

The weekend began Friday with a formal banquet at the Academy Hotel. A silent auction for CHIC raised $1,800. The banquet speaker was Mark Olson, the church’s former pastor who now serves as dean of enrollment and director of church relations at North Park University in Chicago.

“For years Faith Covenant struggled with the record high interest rates of the mid and late 1970s, and it is gratifying to see the congregation finally be able to burn the mortgage,” Olson says. “It is a congregation with a unique role and identity in a city that presents a set of challenges and opportunities unlike any other city I know.”

Fire twoScott Bolinder, a member of the original core planting group, also spoke Friday night. One of the founding members, John Nelson, and his daughters sang.

On Saturday, the church held a block party for neighbors. Neighbors enjoyed carnival games, clowns, popcorn, free food, face painting, bounce house, and music. The church had so much fun, they want to do it again next fall, Lichlyter-Klein says.

Former member Wendy Manley, a recording artist now living in North Carolina, performed a benefit concert Saturday night. The concert raised funds for the 1+1 Tutoring program Faith Covenant began, which is now hosted by the congregation’s daughter church, Living Hope Covenant Church in Colorado Springs.

The tutoring program focuses on children in the primary grades and provides help for their classes. It includes a “faith and values” component, which teaches students the basic message of the gospel and particular values for their young lives, says Lichlyter-Klein.

Sunday’s extended worship focused on the church’s orientation to the future, Lichlyter Klein says. New and old members helped lead the service. Former interim pastor Jim Persson and Midwest Conference Associate Superintendent Rick Mylander spoke. The congregation participated in a “Narrative of Faith Liturgy” written by member Elisabeth Hendricks.

Worshipers moved outside for prayers, scripture reading, and the burning of the mortgage (lower photo shows Lichlyter-Klein lighting the fire). The service concluded with the doxology.

“It was a wonderful time,” Lichlyter-Klein says of the weekend. “God showed up.”

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