One of Lodi's older and more active churches is encountering some major financial issues.
For a few months this year, officials at St. John's Episcopal Church weren't sure whether they could make their mortgage payment for the church on Lower Sacramento Road.
Thanks to a generous congregation, the church came up with about $43,000, which will more than cover the current $27,059 mortgage payment due to the Bank of Stockton and $6,817 in current interest.
Church leaders hope to up the contributions to almost $100,000 to cover the $45,000 principal due on Jan. 15, 2012. The church also owes $20,000 in late payments to the Diocese of San Joaquin.
But church leaders were worried as recently as 30 days ago that it couldn't meet the June 15 deadline to make the current mortgage payment.
"The situation has now reached crisis proportions," Father Harold Clinehens wrote in an email to the congregation dated May 12. "We still cannot pay either the mortgage payment due June 15 or the past-due assessments."
Clinehens' email is out of date now, since the mortgage payment has been made, but the church is still feeling the economic downturn.
Some people who used to contribute to the church can no longer afford it due to their own financial situation, Clinehens said. Additionally, some generous church members aren't around anymore.
"I've buried almost 30 people during the time I've been here (about two years)," Clinehens said.
St. John's had a small chapel at Lee and Locust streets from 1910 until it was moved to the current site on Lower Sacramento Road on Nov. 10, 2001. The first service in the current church was on Dec. 23 of the same year.
Clinehens is confident he will be able to raise enough money to meet future mortgage payments, and he's been working well with the Bank of Stockton on loan arrangements. The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin also owns the church building along with St. John's itself.
Eric Daegling, who manages the Lodi Business Banking Center for the Bank of Stockton, said on Tuesday that the bank doesn't comment on its clients.
Jim "Corky" Kuykendall, the church's senior warden, said that St. John's finances are improving.
"We should like to do more things for the community, but we are struggling financially," Kuykendall said. "We are going to continue to be a major church in Lodi."
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.