Cornerstone World Outreach Center, a Sioux City, Iowa, church, has
filed for bankruptcy, three years after completing a new $8 million
building program. An Ohio contracting company won a lawsuit against the
church in an attempt to recover $3.6 million the church had failed to
repay after the building was completed.
In a statement announcing
the bankruptcy, Cornerstone’s pastor, Cary Gordon, cited “complications
arising from an inability to achieve funding during the economic
climate” and a breakdown of negotiations between the church and the
Cornerstone’s plight is only the most recent of financial woes for churches attempting to weather the economic recession.
The Orange County Register reported that several members of
the orchestra hired to perform at the Crystal
Cathedral’s Easter Sunday services walked out and refused to play after
they realized that the church had paid them half of what was promised to
them. The Southern California megachurch, pastored by Robert Schuller,
filed for bankruptcy protection in October 2010, following the
revelation that it owed $7.5 million to unsecured creditors.
December 2010, Minneapolis area Mighty Fortress Church filed for
bankruptcy with nearly $7 million in liabilities related to its new
sanctuary, training center and K-12 Christian school.
But not all
financial struggles are related to ambitious building projects. New
Christian Life Church, a congregation in Boynton Beach, Fla., is facing
foreclosure that the pastor, Richard Butler attributes to church repairs
and a shrinking congregation.
“When they (church members) leave,
they take their money with them,” Butler said. “So we’ve been
financially strapped for about a year.”