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The Shady Grove Missionary Baptist Church was locked out of its building Friday by Coconut Grove Bank. Maggie Porcher talks about the foreclosure of her church, which she helped found in the mid-'90s.
Maggie Porcher was hoping for a little more time. Another Sunday service, maybe.
She said the bank agreed to let her stay until Friday.
"It's something that it's devastating to think we're gonna lose," said Porcher through tears. "We're still fighting to try to keep this building here."
Porcher helped found the church in the mid-'90s, and serves as its president. She said the building on Grand Avenue dates to 1925. It was once a home and then a photography studio. Porcher revealed a congregational split reduced church membership, and Shady Grove fell behind on mortgage payments two years ago.
Shady Grove even declared bankruptcy last year. "That didn't work out either," she said.
Porcher and her daughter, Chamara, say they worry most about letting down neighborhood adults and children in need.
"I know what it means to the community," said Chamara, who said the church's after-school tutoring program served 60 children. "We were developing a business plan," she said, searching for investors and grants to keep providing services for kids and pay the mortgage.
Between partnering with the state to offer computer resources to job seekers, proviing space for Narcotics Anonymous meetings, giving away food, and running after-school programs, Chamara said the church was busy seven days a week.
At 11:30 a.m. Friday, bank representatives showed up with a locksmith and changed the locks. Maggie Porcher carried out what she could from the freezer and refrigerator.
"I have no comment," said one bank employee.
Coconut Grove representatives declined to speak about the foreclosure.