Middletown church ‘grateful’ to be debt-free after gift, membership campaign

Pam Johnson, chairperson of Christ Church’s administrative team, lights a copy of the church’s mortgage, being held by Pastor Wynston Dixon, during a recent church service. SUBMITTED PHOTO
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Pam Johnson, chairperson of Christ Church’s administrative team, lights a copy of the church’s mortgage, being held by Pastor Wynston Dixon, during a recent church service. SUBMITTED PHOTO

A trio of events has left a Middletown church debt-free and thankful for its blessings.

Christ Church United Methodist, 700 S. Marshall Road, used money from a member’s estate, the sale of the church’s parsonage and a membership campaign to pay off the mortgage, saving the church $2,100 in monthly payments.

Now, Pastor Wynston Dixon said, instead of mailing in that money to the bank every month, the church can use that money to invest in the community and additional mission work.

“Grateful to be debt-free,” said Dixon, who joined Christ Church in September 2018. “It’s a miracle for me.”

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On Nov. 3, during a special Mortgage Burning Service, Dixon stood in front of the congregation and burned a copy of the church’s mortgage.

“What a big relief,” he said.

Christ Church has had a building debt on the church building since the late 1980s, he said. Over time the church has paid thousands of dollars in interest on the loan.

The last monies added to the loan were in August 2010 when the church refinanced the loan and added enough to pay for a $70,000 new roof on the building.

In October 2018, the church received a “gracious gift” in the amount of nearly $100,000 from the estate and family of Carol Hoskins to put toward the building loan, Dixon said. At the time the loan balance was approximately $230,000, and the church was two years into a 15-year payoff schedule.

Armed with the estate gift, the administrative team decided to conduct a matching gift campaign to see if members could pay off the mortgage, he said. The campaign raised $60,000 so the church made a payment of $149,000 toward its mortgage, leaving it with a balance of about $77,000.

The church then sold its parsonage for $165,000 and some of that money was used to pay off the balance. Dixon said the church no longer has to make monthly payments of $2,100, saving the church nearly $100,000 in interest.

The Mortgage Burning Service featured guest speaker the Rev. Dr. Todd Anderson, district superintendent of the Ohio River Valley. Middletown Mayor Larry Mulligan also attended and talked to Dixon about the importance a church plays in a community, Dixon said.