The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Dec. 5, 2022

Church saying goodbye to the mortgage

VW independent staff/submitted information

Whether it’s for a house, business or even a church, there’s nothing like making a final mortgage payment. According to Senior Pastor Jim C. Burns, the Liberty Baptist Church of Van Wert has paid off their building mortgage and is now debt free.

Liberty Baptist Church was established in 1982 and in 2007, the congregation was in urgent need to move from a small church building on Main Street for more space. They needed a larger parking lot, larger classrooms plus handicapped accessibility. The Horace Mann Elementary School had just closed down, but the building was still usable. After surveying the property, church leaders saw what great potential this property had for their ministries.

Pictured from left to right: Pat Ryan, Citizen’s Branch President, Debbie Gleckler, Investment Assistant, Amber Cowan, Branch Manager, Mitch Price, Mortgage Lender, Jim Burns, Pastor. Photo submitted

The Horace Mann School building at 501 E. Third St. had 4.5 acres, a parking lot, playground, ball diamond and an 18,000 square feet concrete block building with a gym, a lobby, office space, and 10 large classrooms, all on one level. The Van Wert School Superintendent and school board voted to auction the Horace Mann School property on Dec. 29, 2007 inside the school gym. A large crowd filled the school gym that day for the auction, but only three bidders showed up and Liberty Baptist Church won the auction with a big of $92,000.

However, the congregation needed an additional $200,000 to meet the state requirements for fire protection, handicap standards plus all the remodeling including a total new roof.

The church family thanked Citizen’s National Bank and the bank’s branch president, Pat Ryan for taking a risk for loaning the needed funds to the church for the purchase of the building and to complete the building project. Although the congregation was worshiping in the building three months after the purchase, the 2008 recession hit and it ended up taking three years to finish the remodeling. To save money, much of the work was done by the donated labor of faithful church members.

The church’s building dedication was on September 18, 2010, in the remodeled the gym which is their now the auditorium. Ironically, September 18, 2022, was the day that Pastor Burns was able to announce to the congregation that they were paying off their building loan and the church would be debt free.

Liberty Baptist Church has been in three previous locations before the purchase of the Horace Mann School under the leadership of three previous pastors, but in October of 1982 when Liberty Baptist Church was founded under the leadership of Pastor Keith Stoller, the new congregation rented the Horace Mann School on weekends to start their church. This year, 2022 is the church’s 40th anniversary.

An official Sunday, Nov. 6 there will be an official mortgage burning during the 10:45 am worship service on Sunday, November 6, and a 40th anniversary celebration will be held the following Sunday, November 13. The public is invited and everyone is welcome.

Liberty Baptist Church is now paid in full. Photos submitted

POSTED: 10/14/22 at 3:43 am. FILED UNDER: Church, News