We have just celebrated the arrival of 2018, and we are starting off the year with a big announcement! 2017 ended with the UPC Loan Fund exceeding the $40 million mark in total assets!
We are excited about the opportunities and challenges we will experience this new year. We have already started 2018 exceeding our goals far beyond our expectations. Our projection was $6 million in new loans for the 12-month period from July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018. From July 1 to December 31, 2017 we already have approved a total of $7.5 million.
The challenge of course is the need of additional investments to handle the loan requests. There are three ways we plan to raise additional investments:
a.) We are hoping our present investors will provide additional investments when possible, knowing the great good that is happening with these loans, plus the great return compared to other fixed income options.
b.) A new "short" video will be produced in late January featuring Brother Bernard and myself that can be shown during church services explaining investment options. We will start with the churches that already have loans with the UPC Loan Fund, and then move to other churches, district by district.
c.) Sometime in 2018, we will offer a new investment option called "Demand Certificates." These certificates will offer:
1.) minimum investment amount,
2.) interest rates adjusted monthly,
3.) withdrawals that may be made at anytime without penalty.
Every quarter things get more exciting with the growing number of churches we are helping. We wish each of you a wonderful 2018 full of blessings from God.
EastGate UPC, Anchorage, Alaska
Submitted by Pastor Jon Springer
EastSide UPC was established in Anchorage, Alaska in 1994, and meetings began in a mall storefront. In 1997, then pastor Brother Mike Fleming received permission from the district to purchase property. Then in 2004, property was again purchased with a seating capacity for up to 80.
In 2014, a new pastor was voted in, and that was myself, Brother Jon Springer. The transition from one pastor to another is seldom easy, and after the dust settled we were running about 25. I put all my heart into seeking the Lord, preaching the Word, and three years later we had outgrown our facilities with an average attendance of 70 and a high of 92 - with room for only 80 chairs. We needed a new building!
We were able to sell our property and come away with a good amount of money for a down payment. In Alaska, just the dirt is expensive, even if there's no gold in it. The properties of appropriate size, with adequate parking and seating capacity, were consistently over $1 million. For months we were searching and there were no viable options. It was a Wednesday night, and the next Sunday was the last service we could have in the building as the new owner was moving in.
I had no idea where we were going, and the church was looking to me for answers. I put my head down and I prayed. I told the Lord that I had done all I could, and that He was the only one who could see us through; not me, not the banks, not the power of money, just God. It was as if that was what the Lord was waiting to hear, because literally as soon as I finished praying the phone rang. It was a realtor I had never spoken to, but he said, "I heard you are looking for some property for a church? I think I have something that will work."
When we approached the banks in town for financing, as is the story heard over and over again, and why the UPC Loan Fund is much needed, we did not fit the framework to qualify for financing. The general story we received was that the bank needed to see 120 in attendance, 6 months operating expenses in savings, and a yearly income of so much versus expenses. Well, even I knew that regardless of what the numbers looked like, there was no way we were going to fit 120 people into 80 chairs. I needed to do something now, and I needed an answer. I remembered somebody had once mentioned the United Pentecostal Church Loan Fund to me.
I called, filled out the application and the ball was rolling. The process was much like applying at any other financial institution, but the true difference was, I felt like they wanted us to be able to purchase this property. They wanted us to receive the financing we desperately needed, and they were going to do everything in their power to help me with my mission. We were on the same team, striving for the same goal. There were obstacles in the way, but the staff was able to come up with a strategy and organize the numbers in such a way that both the seller and the lender were satisfied.
We now have 1.3 acres, plenty of room to grow, and a building we are still remodeling. But with each improvement, we are excited all over again for what the Lord is doing in our church. It felt like a new start so we gave the church a new name, EastGate UPC. In the photo below, this is half of the planned sanctuary size. As soon as we knock out the black draped wall, we will have seating for just over 200. Revival continues. Thank you, Jesus! And thank you UPC Loan Fund for your part in making it possible!
For more info on EastGate UPC, visit their
Natural Disaster Relief Loans
This past summer, the United States and the Caribbean were heavily impacted by several catastrophic hurricanes and tropical storms.
As a result, several of our Loan Fund churches were affected. Some with damages to church property or saints' property, causing loss of income and repair bills.
We were proud to offer our UPC Loan Fund churches a two month deferral on their payments, and several took us up. But we knew there was more we could do.
So we took the additional step of offering a one time, $10,000 Natural Disaster Relief Loan to any church in the path of these storms, current Loan Fund customer or not. We offered these loans an unprecedented 1% interest.
We had three churches we were able to assist this way, one in Florida and two in Texas. One of the Texas churches has shared their story below. We continue to send our prayers to all affected by these events.
C, Rockport, TX
Submitted by Pastor Donald L. Eddins
On August 25, 2017 o
ur city was greeted by an unwelcome visitor. He was part of a unique family,
his brother named Ike and his sister Katrina. Hurricane Harvey quickly grew int
o a much larger storm than expected, and would proceed to devastate the city of Rockport, Texas and surrounding communities along the south Texas coast. Harvey officially became a category 4 hurricane with various reports of category 5 winds in excess of 153 miles per hour. First Unit
ed Pentecostal Church is situated about nine blocks from the shoreline, right in the path of the storm.
Now, in our community, things are referred to as "Before Harvey or After Harvey." Literally hundreds of families have been displaced, and hundreds of businesses are either completely destroyed or will take many months to rebuild. Upon our return to the area, we did not know what to expect. We faced a shocking realization. Our church had sustained extensive damage. We could immediately see that our auditorium was
in shambles. The roof would have to be replaced. We had lost most of our furnishings, all our musical instruments, pulpit, public address system, lighting fixtures, as well as the ceilings and walls themselves. The building would have to be redone from the studs out. With tears in our eyes and an ache in our hearts, we sat and wondered what we would do.
Our congregation is small and most members are on a fixed income. We did have property insurance, but unfortunately windstorm is excluded and must be purchased separately in Texas. This coverage was much too expensive on the coast, and consequently we were uninsured for this event. Little did we know just how amazing our God and God's people are!
We began to receive messages from pastors, churches and South Texas District UPCI Officials that they were coming to our rescue. Four months later, and I am still in awe at the outpouring of love, finances and supplies that came our way. However, we had no plan to sit idly by and let everyone else pay our way. I was always taught t
hat God helps those who help themselves. Realizing that we would still have needs beyond benevolence, we prayed for direction.
Shortly thereafter a good friend, whose church had also sustained severe damage, called unexpectedly to tell me about a heretofore unknown opportunity, the UPC Loan Fund Natural Disaster Relief Loan. What an answer to prayer! The structure of this loan would allow our small congregation to participate in recovery with honor and responsibility. Our group is so grateful. The process was simple and afforded us a way to accomplish something beneficial without adding more stress to an already stressful situation. Actually, the UPC Loan Fund should be highly commended for making this opportunity virtually stress free.
We look forward to returning to our newly renovated auditorium and grounds in mid January 2018! Without the loving considerations of pastors, churches, the UPCI South Texas District and the UPC Loan Fund Disaster Relief Loan, this would not have been possible.
For more information on First UPC of Rockport, Texas, visit their Facebook page.
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Is your congregation outgrowing your building? Are your facilities in need of serious updates or repairs? Is your current mortgage payment crippling your church's finances?
Give us a chance to partner with your congregation; consider applying for a loan with the United Pentecostal Church Loan Fund. In a climate where more and more banks are denying church loans all together, our sole purpose is to help fund your vision.
Our rates are competitive, the application process is simple, and our staff is professional and dedicated to serving your individual needs. We offer loans for every situation: refinance, renovation, land purchase, building purchase, and new building construction.