Opelika church pays off $700,000 debt nearly 15 years early

Opelika church pays off $700,000 debt nearly 15 years early
Opelika church pays off $700,000 debt nearly 15 years early(Mt. Zion AME Church Facebook)
Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 10:07 PM EDT
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OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) - An east Alabama church is now debt-free in 2022.

Mt. Zion AME Church celebrated paying off a hefty mortgage debt today.

The church celebrated with a mortgage-burning ceremony.

To seal the accomplishment of paying off their $700,000 mortgage nearly 15 years early, members, former pastors, the current pastor and other special guests served up a burnt sacrificial offering, the church’s mortgage papers.

“The people deserve it was hard work, it wasn’t easy, but through their faith and dedication they made it possible,” said current pastor, Jessie Grooms.

According to the former pastor, Dr. Wendell Jones, a new church was built on the Mt. Zion AME property under the pastor-ship of former pastor, Lewis Williams, and in 2005 members moved into the newly built church, incurring more than half a million dollars in mortgage debts.

“God gave the vision that they shouldn’t have a 20-year mortgage, that we could pay it in less time so by the vision of God we came up with a plan,” said another former pastor, Dr. Carmen Walker.

A plan Walker came up with in 2008, when she first inhabited the church. She called it ‘The Mortgage Reduction Plan’.

This plan consisted of refinancing the building for a lower mortgage rate while adding a yearly payment of a thousand dollars or more.

“We didn’t do any special fundraisers basically tithes offerings and gifts,” said Walker.

While Walker started this plan, Jones, who ended his term as pastor around six months ago, finished the plan of paying off the entire mortgage under his leadership.

“Probably within a year of being here we just restructured the mortgage altogether so that we could pay more on the principal and less on the interest,” explained Jones.

The day was filled with singing, thanks-giving and awarding the people who helped see this plan through.

Now that Mt. Zion has paid off their mortgage, they said they will continue to work towards new goals so that they can provide for their congregation and the surrounding community.

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