ALBANY The executive pastor for Sherwood Baptist Church said Thursday that the church is working with area daycares to help its staff find jobs and its students find a place to stay, following word the church's center will close December 30.
Jim McBride said Thursday that the church is "doing all that we know to do," to help those who will be displaced by Sherwood Daycare center's closing December 30.
Parents learned Wednesday that the center would be closing because of what church officials said were declining revenues and increasing state regulations.
McBride said that the church was working the daycare centers in the Albany area to find work for those staff who will be out of a job at the beginning of the year and to help parents find a place to keep their kids where possible.
"We've been in contact with some day care centers and, of course, we're going to be giving recommendation letters for all of our staff who have been impacted by this decision," McBride said.
As for the day care center, McBride said that the K-3 children will be moved to the lower campus for the remainder of the school year and that some of the parents and children may be able to take advantage of the Mothers' Morning Out program that allows mother's to drop their children off at the church between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. while they are out running errands, he said.
Word that the center was experiencing financial troubles perplexed many who commented on the story at albanyherald.com based on the success of Sherwood's film ministry, which is currently having its best run ever with the release of "Courageous."
That film alone, which opened September 30 in limited release and has since expanded to more than 1,200 theaters across the country, has grossed more than $21.8 million, according to industry reports and was listed on the movie website "Fandango," as being top-rated fan favorite currently in theaters.
While only a portion of the money generated by the film will go to Sherwood's movie making arm, Sherwood Pictures Ministries, Inc., how much money is flowing into the church has not been stated publicly.
When asked about the revenues generated from the film, the general financial state of the church and the seemingly conflicting notion of the revenues coming from the film and the lack of funding for the day care center, McBride said he couldn't comment.
A request for a tax-return or other financial documents sent to the attorney-of-record for Sherwood Pictures Ministries, Inc. -- which is listed as a tax-exempt, 501(c)3 organization with the Georgia Secretary of State -- under Georgia's Open Records Act, was denied because SPM, Inc., is not required to file anything with the Internal Revenue Service because it is an auxiliary of the church.
A budget does accompany the church's bulletin that is posted online. According to that, the church is currently operating with a $161,162 deficit, having received $3.3 million of its $3.5 million budget.
The only recent reference to revenues and the church appears in an article published this month by the Baptist Press in which Pastor Michael Catt is said to have given $100,000 check to the International Mission Board to fund overseas trips by Baptist missionaries.
That offering, along with the funding used to build the 82-acre Legacy Park, is inferred in the article to have come from revenues generated by the film.
On its website, the church also solicits donations or offerings from its members and the public to support its various ministries which it uses to spread the Gospel in a variety of different ways.