Pastor La’Noah Ealy said he thought his church was in the midst of refinancing its mortgage when he found out the mortgage holder, CapFinancial CV2 NPL LLC, had begun foreclosure proceedings on the Parkwood Drive church.
Ealy, who became pastor at Mars Hill nearly four years ago, said when he arrived the church was about $12,000 behind in its payments. But, according to Ealy, the church got caught up with those payments and has made its roughly $2,900 monthly payment on time since then.
“I don’t understand how they could do it, when they’re still taking our money,” he said.
But the property has been advertised — once on June 25 and once Tuesday — as going up for auction to the highest bidder on the steps of the Calhoun County Courthouse on July 12 at 11 a.m.
For now, Ealy said, Mars Hill will still have church in the building. He said the church has 102 members on its rolls, and about 60 are active.
Ealy said that before he arrived at the church, its loan had already matured. “We were trying to work it out to get it financed,” he said. “They kept selling it to different banks; this one right here is impatient to get it done, I guess.”
He said he thought the church had been given an extension to secure the financing for the remainder of the loan.
According to the Calhoun County Probate Judge’s Office, the church’s $322,000 mortgage with Southtrust Bank was recorded in 2001. Wachovia Bank (formerly Southtrust) then assigned the mortgage to CapFinancial CV2 LLC in 2007, who assigned it to CapFinancial CV2 NPL, LLC last October.
Until the late 1990s, Mars Hill Missionary Baptist Church was located on West Sixth Street, just off Clydesdale Avenue. Church leaders in 1996 joined a lawsuit against Monsanto for contaminating the church’s property with PCBs.
The church split into two factions over the years, with part of the membership attempting to fire the pastor and suing to halt a settlement with the company. By 1998, the pastor was holding services at a new location, but many members resisted the change and continued to meet in the old church building.
Court records show Monsanto paid more than $2.5 million to Mars Hill Missionary Baptist Church in September 1998.
Two institutions bearing the name Mars Hill Missionary Baptist Church now exist in Anniston.
According to county tax records, the 21,000-square-foot brick church building was erected at 1300 Parkwood Drive in 1999. The building and land are valued at about $634,500 and $31,000, respectively.
The other Anniston church bearing the same name is located at 1923 Noble St. County records show the building, formerly Noble Street Baptist Church, was purchased by Mars Hill Missionary Baptist Church in December 2011.
C. Jason Avery, a Birmingham attorney representing CapFinancial CV2 NPL LLC, said he could not comment on the foreclosure.
Staff writer Paige Rentz: 256-235-3564. On Twitter @PRentz_Star.