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Church in the Now facing foreclosure

Church in the Now’s Iris Drive properties are going into foreclosure, according to a March 10 listing.

The nondenominational megachurch entered into an $18.5 million agreement with the Evangelical Christian Credit Union in June 2007 for the properties and buildings at 1873, 1875 and 1877 Iris Drive.The market value of 1873 Iris Drive was listed as $11.8 million in 2010 and the assessed value was listed as $4.7 million, according to the Rockdale County Tax Commissioner’s office.

An attorney for the Evangelical Christian Credit Union, Frank J. Perch III, said he knew of the foreclosure listing but said he couldn’t comment on the matter without discussing it with his client. A foreclosure listing for Church in the Now was previously published on Jan. 7 but withdrawn.

Calls to Church in the Now and Bishop Jim Swilley were not returned as of press time.

If the foreclosure proceeds, the property will go up for auction on the county courthouse steps on April 5 to the highest bidder.

The main sanctuary space, which seats about 2,500, has been used for various non-church functions in the past, such as Rockdale County High School’s graduation.

Church in the Now’s parking lot also serves as a stop for the GRTA park and ride program. About 415 spaces are leased for riders on routes 425 and 423, which are some of the most popular routes GRTA operates.

GRTA spokesperson William Mecke said the GRTA board had met on Wednesday and authorized going into an agreement with the Evangelical Christian Credit Union should the property go into foreclosure.

"The riders won’t see any difference. We’ll still be there," said Mecke.

According to a February article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, more than 90 churches were listed for foreclosure in the metro Atlanta area between 2006 to 2010.

Church in the now experienced fast growth in the 1990s. Swilley told the AJC, "I was under the impression it was time to take it to the next level… I hate to say we overbuilt, but we did."

Swilley came out to his congregation last October and confirmed that he was gay. Attendance has reportedly dropped to about 1000 members.