‘We’re Grateful’: Faith Groups Grateful for CARES Act Loans | The Oklahoman

CARES Act Loans and Paycheck Protect Program Available for Churches and FBOs

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — The CARES Act rescued houses of worship that were forced to close during the recent COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. Many faith groups and religious affiliates across the state grasped a financial lifeline through forgivable loans from the federal government.

Congress approved the money through the Coronavirus Aid and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to help businesses and other entities pay their employees during the shutdown.

When houses of worship were forced to close during the recent pandemic shutdown, many faith groups grasped a financial lifeline through forgivable loans
The new Life.Church Norman auditorium is seen on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017 in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

The Small Business Administration recently released data showing which entities received such loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. The loans were designed to be grants, and organizations that meet specific guidelines will have the loans forgiven.

Oklahoma religious groups received millions of dollars in loans, all totaled.

Topping the list of Oklahoma religious agencies with existing loans was Edmond-based Life.Church in terms of the amount of money it was approved to receive — between $5 million and $10 million for 451 employees. The church, with headquarters at 4600 E Second St., has 34 locations in 10 states across the country.

Bobby Gruenewald, Life.Church pastor-innovation leader, said Life.Church appreciated that the CARES Act and tge Paycheck Protection Program was extended to houses of worship and other religious agencies.

“We’re grateful that nonprofits and churches were able to qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program because we believe that organizations like ours play an important role in serving communities during times of crisis. This program helped keep our team members employed, and we’re thankful we’ve been able to continue to meet the needs of our 34 locations as we’ve served our communities during this uncertain season,” Gruenewald said in a statement.

J. Keith Newman, president of Southern Nazarene University, said the school’s leaders were delighted when the SBA and the federal government determined that the university was eligible to receive funding. Newman said the university’s loan was for an estimated $4.1 million. The university in Bethany has been around since 1899 and has had a history of serving the community, he said.

“Quite frankly, the Paycheck Protection Program was just a powerful thing for us to retain our employees and do what I think it was designed to do, which was to try and help individuals during unprecedented times in our country,” Newman said.

Other religious entities with existing loans from between $2 million and $5 million include Oklahoma Baptists, also known as the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, and the Museum of the Bible.


Read more news on the Coronavirus Outbreak on Missions Box.

GFA’s Statement About Coronavirus