On June 17, 2017, the congregation of the Clarksville Seventh-Day Adventist Church celebrated their house of worship being paid off.
Payment for the church began in 2008, and the final payment was set to be due in 2028. Thanks to continuous prayer and the generous giving from certain members, the church was paid off full in April 2017.
At the Mortgage Burning Ceremony at the church location, Clarksville SDA member, Barbara Goodall gave a history of the church to the congregation, and later some of her memories since she joined the Clarksville church in 1977.
“I had four teenagers that were unhappy with leaving Arizona,” said Goodall. “It was our final military move and we were retiring here. We had come from a very active church, and this was a very small church and as I reported the two churches, Hoptown and clarksville were very close, and we spent many Sabbaths there as the school was there. And there were more teens there. Clarksville lacked in leadership. There were not very many members. A church treasurer had just been murdered, and church funds stolen from her. There was still the old stigma of the old deep South. There was no one but old white people. One black lady; Ms. Henry, who came later, and an old white man quit coming. He never returned.”
“The Wests always invited the church to hayrides and Sabbath fun, as did the Harolds in Hoptown. Clarksville did Harvest ingathering. That was where we loaded in a pickup and sang carols throughout the neighbors and collected funds for missions. I was a literature evangelist for a couple years.”
Goodall said she thinks it is incredible that the church has been paid off. Her hope is that the church doesn’t go back into debt trying to build classrooms.
After a poem of praise and thanks recited by church member Joanne Traughber, the congregation was led outside by event host Marcella Harris to the parking lot, where a firepit was sitting. Pastor Bob Wint and Pastor Cody Floyd Harmon both took the mortgage in hand, along with a lighter. After a short prayer, thanking God for blessing the church, fire was set to the paper, and it was cast into the fire pit.
When the mortgage was reduced to ashes, the congregation went inside their paid-for building to fellowship.
(Left: Cody Floyd Harmon; Right: Bob Wint holding church mortgage.)
“Be determined never to incur another debt. Deny yourself a thousand things rather than run in debt. This has been the curse of your life, getting into debt. Avoid it as you would the smallpox.”- Ellen G. White