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Arizona Church Facing Foreclosure Raises $68,000 to Stay Open

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By Michael Gryboski , Christian Post Reporter
June 23, 2014|4:44 pm

A church in Arizona facing the possibility of foreclosure due to owing money on a tax it claims was illegal has raised about $68,000 to remain open.

The church of the Isaiah 58 Project (Photo: Screengrab/Vimeo)

Pastor Mike Hobby from the church of the Isaiah 58 Project in Quartzsite, Arizona, as seen in this Feb. 25, 2011, report.

Church of the Isaiah 58 Project was given a $50,000 tax bill from La Paz County that the congregation argues it does not have to pay.

The church successfully raised $68,000 to pay the bill as a condition of continuing litigation in a civil suit they filed against La Paz, it was recently announced.

The church is being legally represented by the Scottsdale-based Alliance Defending Freedom, whose Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley commented on Friday about the news.

"After an outpouring of support from Christians across the country, this church won't have to shut its doors and discontinue its crucial ministry," said Stanley in a statement. "Now we can move forward and challenge the unjust actions of one county official who has illegally impeded the church's efforts to help the least fortunate in a struggling community."

  • The church of the Isaiah 58 Project
    (Photo: Screengrab/Vimeo)
    The church of the Isaiah 58 Project in Quartzsite, Arizona, as seen in this Feb. 25, 2011, report.

Founded in 2003, and located in Quartzsite, the Church of the Isaiah 58 Project ministers to those struggling with homelessness. The church draws upon Isaiah 58:6-10.

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I," reads the passage.

In March of 2011, the church filed a civil suit against La Paz County after officials stated that the ministry had to pay back taxes on property that the church argues it has an exemption for.

Last September, a judge with the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that for the church's suit to go forward, it first had to pay the tax bill at the center of the civil suit.

"We affirm and hold that because taxing authorities acted under semblance of authority, the tax court appropriately dismissed Taxpayer's claims for injunctive relief," wrote Judge Dean M. Fink. "Additionally, the counts of the complaint seeking declaratory relief were properly dismissed because Taxpayer did not pay the assessed taxes before filing suit."

The Christian Post reached out to officials at La Paz County for a comment, however, a representative explained that their expert on the case was out of the office for the next couple days.

 

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