Evergreen Church in Sevier County has a new owner. This comes after their credit union put their building in a foreclosure auction on Friday morning.
An attorney representing Evangelical Christian Credit Union, the loan holder for the church, read the deed in front of a small crowd that gathered in front of the Sevier County Courthouse.
The debt on the building is nearly $3.8 million dollars.
Only one person who showed up actually made an offer. The $500,000 bid was not high enough. Through their lawyer, the bank said they would pay $3 million dollars for the church. So, the attorney sold it to the credit union.
The two dozen other people who watched the auction are all members of the congregation. They said they come to show support for Pastor Brad Bradford , and stood in solidarity as a Christian community.
"I know he feels bad about how things have happened here, but to our church body, that's who's most important here. We don't care if we have to pitch a tent," said church member Bleu Wallace.
Pastor Bradford told 10News after the auction that the credit union ending up with the church is the best possible outcome to a difficult situation.
Bradford's goal is to work out a leasing agreement with the credit union that will allow Evergreen Church to stay in the building. He said credit union officials previously indicated that a deal might be possible, but negotiations had to wait until after the foreclosure auction took place.
10News first reported this story back in December, 2011. The church has about 200 members. It found itself in financial trouble over the past year because of declining membership. That caused a drop in donations, which are used to pay the bills.
Pastor Bradford said it will be business as usual at the church for the time being, until negotiations with the credit union take place.