Grace Community United Church of Christ will close its doors this weekend, but the pastor who says his decision to publicly support gay-marriage rights unwittingly thrust it on a path toward financial ruin plans to find a new home for his small congregation.
The church has about 125 members left, but often fewer than 30 show up on a given Sunday. Goodlow said 15 longstanding members met in recent weeks to discuss next steps, and they seemed committed to keeping the ministry intact, even if they have to find a new home.
The ministry moved from St. Paul's Midway area to the current location on Forest Street, a few blocks north of Phalen Boulevard, in 2001.
White said his church's financial problems started in 2005 after he voted to support same-sex marriage at the United Church of Christ's national synod.
Attendance in the pews immediately dropped off the next week, and soon, three-fourths of his sizable congregation was gone.
The departures took a financial toll, so the church took out a $150,000 loan in April 2007 to pay its bills, using the church building as collateral. The ministry owned the structure and owed no debt on the building at the time.