SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Freedom City Church, located in north Springfield, received the gift of a lifetime wrapped as a paid off mortgage. The giver of the gift, another church. James River Church gifted freedom city a $643,000 check, which came just in time.
Five years ago, Pastor’s John and Hannah Alarid ,moved Freedom City Church to Broadway Street. They secured a five year loan where they paid interest only.
When they started the church, there were scoffers explains Pastor John Alarid, “People have said you’re never going to be able to sustain a church in north Springfield where you welcome addicts and criminals, and I say, what would Jesus do?”
The weekly congregation has grown. Over 50% of the congregation is made up of convicted felons, along with many homeless. Sunday the seats are filled and during the week every inch of the building is used to minister in other ways.
“We are really an eclectic group and that was our goal,” explains Alarid, “A place that looked like heaven where everybody is welcome.”
Covid hit the church hard financially. The time had come to where they needed to secure a loan on their building. Freedom City Church needed $140,000 for the down payment. They didn’t have that kind of cash laying around, so Pastor Alarid started making calls.
He rang up James River Church Pastor John Lindell asking for a donation of $20,000. What James River and their congregation did for Freedom City was well beyond their request.
“In the spirit of we’re going to do something for this city and this community together,” says Hannah Alarid, “Not like, our church versus their church. They just saw a church in need, more like a family in need, so they stepped up to give this amazing gift to us.”
“They came out with the check, and I was in tears. I was standing in tears, overwhelmed by the goodness of God,” says John Alarid.
The paid-off mortgage will allow Freedom City to stay put, right in the heart of north Springfield where they can welcome the felons, junkies and saints like their sign out front says.