The United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministry Board of Directors, which disbanded on July 2 under a new unified governance structure with one United Church of Christ Board, left a significant parting gift for Franklinton Center at Bricks in Whitakers, N.C., one of the UCC’s centers for justice. The JWM Board paid off the mortgage on the facility's newest building, and during Franklinton Center Day August 3, hundreds watched the loan go up in smoke symbolically. A mortgage burning ritual was part of the annual event that celebrates the institution's legacy of racial and economic justice.
"We have been blessed by a long-time relationship with Franklinton Center at Bricks," said the Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo, executive minister of Justice and Witness Ministries, speaking of a formal written Covenant that was developed and endorsed by the JWM and FCAB Boards four years ago. "That Covenant has been the foundation for building a stronger relationship between us, which was key to the decision by the JWM Board of Directors to pay off the Cornerstone Loan. This payment is a transfer of assets that gives evidence to the investment that JWM made in the importance of Franklinton Center’s ministry to the whole United Church of Christ."
The UCC Cornerstone Fund loan was used to pay for the construction of a new dormitory building (Hospitality House 2) at the facility in 2007. At that time, JWM guaranteed the loan for Franklinton Center — which was the first commitment of support. JWM continues to be in covenant with FCAB as it folds into the United Church of Christ Board.
Franklinton Center at Bricks is now moving forward with a three-year vision plan that aims to expand the facility's breadth of services in eastern North Carolina, as well as its role within the broader national community. FCAB will work with the UCC's Church Building and Loan Fund and Aim Development Group, a New York-based economic development organization, to help make the new vision — which includes a new welcome center and museum as well as new signage — a reality.