Florida Church, Pastored by Rev. Henry J. Lyons, Facing Foreclosure

Many churches across the country are In the grip of the foreclosure crisis that has affected millions of families. African American-led churches are especially vulnerable, due to the fact that job losses are at an all-time high among their members. Efforts to stem the flow of church foreclosures are being heralded by Rev. Jesse Jackson, among others.

On Sunday, July 17, 2011, according to an article in the St. Petersburg Times, the 105-year-old New Salem Missionary Baptist Church, could lose its historic home and a hoped-for new campus off Interstate 4 after defaulting on a $1.1 million loan. The church has been under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Henry J. Lyons, the former president of the National Baptist Convention USA. since 2004.

However, church officials confirm that they, not Lyons, made the decisions that led to the current difficulties.”Rev. Lyons is a hired employee, a contract employee,” said deacon Rufus Spencer. “He does provide leadership. But our church is run by the board.”