A church for $6 million has closed its doors, and a group of Fort Collins residents have launched a Facebook page to try to help the congregation stay in business.
Church for sale: Grace Point Church in Fort Worth.
Photo courtesy of Grace Point.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported the church for more than 30 years as the Grace Point Baptist Church in the Fort Worth suburb of Fort Worth, and it had been owned by the Rev. Donald Suggs.
The family has had trouble selling their property since Sugg filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November, according to the newspaper.
Fort Worth has about 3,400 vacant lots and other vacant properties that need to be sold, according the newspaper, but it does not allow churches to do so.
The church’s pastor, Rev. William Osterberg, told the newspaper that he and his wife had been trying to find a buyer for the church since he left in January, but they had not found anyone willing to pay the price.
The couple said the church has been struggling financially.
“We just don’t have enough money to maintain our services,” Osterbergers told the Star-Tribune.
“I’ve been a pastor for the last 10 years, and I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
The Fort Lauderdale Herald-Teal reported that Osterberg is still owed more than $300,000 by a company that sold the church.
The property was purchased in 2001.
Fort Collins police have said that the church was closed on Nov. 14, but the owner, Robert N. Houghton, said on Facebook that the closure was related to his ongoing bankruptcy.
He said the closure had nothing to do with the church’s closure.
“It is not related to my bankruptcy,” Houghtons said.
Houghton did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
The pastor’s attorney, David W. Whelan, told KFOR-TV that he believes Houghons bankruptcy filing was unrelated to the church closure.
Whelan said Houghson had made the church a priority and that he had been in contact with the pastor since last fall.
“He has a very good family, and he just wanted to make sure that the people of Fort Myers could get their church back,” Whelans said.
“He just wanted them to know that.”
In addition to selling the church, the Houghmans also purchased the former Grace Point Community Center on St. Clair Avenue in Fort Myers, Whelons said.
He said that he plans to reopen the church on Nov 3.
Widespread interest in Fort Lauderdale’s churchesThe Fort Myers Register-Guard reported that a group is looking to purchase the church and is working to find someone willing to buy it.
“This is a very important community church that is very beloved and the community loves it,” said Jennifer Pang, the president of the Fort Myers Independent Baptist Church.
“We’re really hoping that we can get it in some type of buyer’s market that will allow it to stay open and allow the people to keep it open.”
Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Pate said that while the community was upset about the closure, the community had rallied behind the church in its fight against the closing.
“As a community, we’re very thankful for what we’ve seen here,” he said.
“There are still people who are going to continue to come to church every Sunday.
I’m glad to see it.
I hope they can keep it going.
I think that’s the main thing we need.”
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