The rain on May 11 did not prevent the ceremonial burning of the mortgage for the Standifer Gap Church in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Over the last 75 years or so, the church went through many growth spurts as additional land was purchased and the buildings expanded. A $500,000 update on the church and school in 2000 left the church with a mortgage planned for payoff in 2006. Giving decreased, however, and a considerable amount was still owed. Then in 2007, the property next to the church became available. Plans were made to build a multi-purpose pavilion, which was completed debt free, but the cost of the land was added to the existing mortgage, resulting in a debt of about $350,000.
Through careful planning, special offerings, and the support of church members led by elder William Wampler and treasurer Doug Frood, the mortgage was paid off in April, and a homecoming celebration was held May 11. Sabbath School consisted of remembrances of former years by several members, followed by the lesson by former pastor Jerry Johns. The church service included the third- and fourth-grade class helping with the children’s story and special music by the Junior Tone Chimes Choir. Mickey Mallory, current pastor, had the sermon. After a potluck lunch, a musical celebration was held followed by the burning of the mortgage.
Written by Judith Schermerhorn
Picture by Darwin White