MARYLAND

Ark of Safety Christian Church files for bankruptcy protection

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A Prince George's County church is facing a financial fall.

The Ark of Safety Christian Church has filed for bankruptcy protection. The church, located in Upper Marlboro, is run by State Senator C. Anthony Muse, who represents parts of Prince George's County. At Ark of Safety, he is known as Bishop Muse.

Last week, Muse's church filed for bankruptcy protection, citing nearly $2 million in unpaid debt.

But, this isn't the first time a church the legislator is associated with has found itself in financial straits.

United Methodist Church in Brandywine, Maryland also ran out of money and eventually closed its doors. But, Muse's supporters point out that he was not in charge of finances at United Methodist and had nothing to do with its financial problems.

Muse said like many of America's middle class churches, his is having hard times financially.

"Middle class homeowners and middle class churches are still struggling to climb out of the recession. Our members are middle class and have many needs. Their struggle has strained the church's resources," Muse explained.

Church neighbor Ron Smith added, "The senator is a good man. Some of the congregants had some financial problems..."

Officials with the church said donations are down by $700,000 a year, and the 29 acres of land the church planned to build on has lost much of its value making it impossible for them to refinance.

Muse even mortgaged his waterfront home in Fort Washington to keep the church afloat. He said the church has put its expansion plans on hold, but they aren't in danger of closing. They are simply reorganizing their debt.

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