SPOKANE, WA (January 16, 2014) — Financial struggles have led First Covenant Church—a congregation in which more than half of the 90 attenders are homeless or low income—to sell its building to Mars Hill Church for $1.25 million, Pastor Rob Bryceson told the Inlander, a local weekly newspaper.
Bryceson expects the deal to close in February, and the church will need to find a new place to meet in May. The building will be the sixteenth campus for Mars Hill.
First Covenant has been coming up $3,000 to $4,000 short each month but has long struggled and considered closing as far back as 1972. When Bryceson arrived in 2009, only a handful of families were actively involved. The congregation wanted to sell and move, but could not find a suitable buyer for the building, which was constructed in 1905.
The congregation has more than doubled in size since Bryceson arrived, but many attenders are homeless. “They consider it their church,” he told Covenant News Service last year.
That is evident in comments made by a homeless woman to the Inlander. “When they do move, we’re all gonna stay together. No matter what,” the woman said. “If I have to go sit on his couch in front of the TV on Sunday morning, I will. It’s not the church; it’s the people. Wherever this church goes, wherever Rob goes, I’m going.”
Bryceson said he would like to open a deli and bakery that would provide jobs for church members six days a week and he would preach on Sunday.
To read more of the Inlander story, click here.
National Covenant Properties, which loaned funds to First Covenant, helped negotiate the sale.