A church gets to stay put because of the kindness of a stranger

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that the anonymous donor served in Korea

An anonymous benefactor didn’t want to see “Fort Worth’s forgotten people” without a church to call their own.

A retired railroad employee who served in Korea in 1963 contacted the Church on the Slab, on Arizona Avenue near Interstate 35 and Rosedale, after reading a Star-Telegram article about the congregation’s plight when the pastor learned that a prospective buyer wanted the church to move out.

The donor asked to remain anonymous because he is giving most of his retirement savings to the church so that the pastor, Cherryll Wallace, can handle the final details to purchase the property.

“This is not me doing this; it is the Lord telling me what to do,” the donor said. “Everything on this earth belongs to God. All I am doing is returning it to him.”

Pastor Cherryll Wallace said that when she got a call from the benefactor, she knew that a miracle was taking place.

“Hallelujah, no words can describe this, this is a modern-day miracle,” she said.

Wallace said she has signed the necessary paperwork, and that the closing should go forward next week.

“I knew that I was to take that stand. I knew I wasn’t moving anything out of there,” she said.

The donor said that he is giving approximately $300,000 to the church for the property purchase and to make sure there was enough money to install heating and air conditioning, repair the parking lot and a install a baptistry, after he learned that people were getting baptized outside in an old tub.

The property is owned by Daily Bread Ministry Inc. of Flower Mound. Scott Lowe, of Vision Commercial, the real estate firm representing the seller, told the Star-Telegram previously that the property has been under contract since November, and the church was given several extensions.

There were concerns that the congregation would have to find another place to worship on Easter, but the prospective buyer at the time allowed them to hold Easter services in the building.

But the future of the Church on the Slab was uncertain until the donor came forward.

“These are poor people; I just couldn’t let this (moving elsewhere) happen,” he said.

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With my guide dog Barbara, I keep tabs on growth, economic development and other issues in Northeast Tarrant cities and other communities near Fort Worth. I’ve been a reporter at the Star-Telegram for 34 years.