Aiding the Churches

Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension

"The new building is a big improvement" is a comment heard often from organizing pastors.

For years mission works and younger congregations have faced the problem of inadequate facilities. Finding a rental facility with enough space for worship and educational needs is a challenge. Finding a facility with the space and equipment for fellowship meals is a plus. Space for mid-week ministry is even harder to come by.

Recognizing that buildings are a vital ministry tool, the Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension established the Orthodox Presbyterian Church Loan Fund. The purpose of this fund is to help mission works and churches secure buildings of their own.

Normally this means that loans are made to assist with a building program or the purchase of land, or the purchase of an already existing building. Recent projects in Manchester, New Hampshire; Farmington Hills, Michigan; Fredericksburg, Virginia; and Barre, Vermont have been assisted by the Loan Fund. More than forty congregations currently have loans from the Fund.

Occasionally a unique opportunity presents itself, as was the case with Grace and Peace Presbyterian Church in California, Maryland. They were not yet able to purchase a building themselves, as they were neither particularized nor incorporated. However, through the Fund, Grace and Peace was able to secure the immediate use of a church building that was being underutilized. Indeed, the congregation that sold the church was as happy to sell the building as Grace and Peace was to have the OPC acquire it! The small mission work did not have the funds to purchase the building which sits on seven acres, but Loan Fund manager David Haney was with them on a "scouting trip" and he brought the opportunity to the attention of the Fund's Board of Directors.

A proposal was made to the Fund's Board of Directors to purchase the 4,300+ square foot building built in 1995 which seats 140, and pay for an upgrade to the parking lot, road signs, and add more chairs. The purchase was accomplished and the congregation was able to immediately meet for worship—on Easter Sunday. Attendance now averages 116 ... so far!

The Loan Fund will hold title to the building until Grace and Peace Presbyterian Church is in a position to purchase the property. Meanwhile, the church's rent is being applied to its eventual purchase price. The goal is to have the property in the hands of the church as soon as possible. The Board will work with the overseeing session to determine when that time has come. To quote an elder, "God has blessed our church in so many ways."

The money which the OPC Loan Fund uses to provide loans and, on rare occasion to purchase buildings, comes from people like you. People looking for a reasonable return on their investment, while having their money used to serve the Lord, may invest $1,000 or more in this ministry. Churches and presbyteries as well are investing and helping sister OP churches get into their own buildings.

For further information, an Offering Circular to learn more about investing, or a loan application for a session considering its options contact Mark Stumpff at mark.stumpff@opc.org.

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