Refinance Strengthens McKendree UMC

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Like many churches, McKendree UMC in Lawrenceville, Ga. went through tough financial times beginning in 2008. The Church’s decision to refinance its $2.8 million loan with the Georgia United Methodist Foundation in 2014 was a game-changer, which had a profound financial and spiritual impact on its mission and ministry.

“We took out our previous loan just before the recession, and we had always been able to make our payments,” explained Charles Darden, former Finance Chair of McKendree UMC. “However, doing so caused us to make some hard choices about staffing and programs.”

Rev. Julie Boone, the former Senior Pastor, suggested McKendree UMC pursue further loan discussions with GUMF shortly after she was appointed in 2013.

“At my previous church, Birmingham UMC in Alpharetta, Ga., the Foundation had helped us set up an endowment. They offer socially responsible investing, lower rates than we were currently receiving, and were really willing to work with us,” Boone said. “They are part of the connectional system. We feel good about going through the Foundation because we know we are helping others.”

“GUMF took the time to understand our situation and our vision, and help us come up with a solution that was a win-win. Our loan payments are approximately $5,000 per month lower than before. That's $60,000 a year that we can put toward nurturing our community and connecting them with Christ,” Darden adds. “McKendree is on the most solid financial footing it has ever been on. We are meeting our budget. Our staff is back where it needs to be. And, budget surpluses over the last several years have allowed us to build a cash reserve, most of which we have invested in GUMF’s Certificate Program.”

“Refinancing our loan with GUMF has stabilized our church and empowered our people to do ministry in a way that demonstrates clearly God is with us and the Holy Spirit is breathing through this church,” Boone said.

This article was originally published in the Winter 2017 edition of Faith & Money, a publication of the Georgia United Methodist Foundation.