These days the church continues to offer financial guidance to its flock. One recent evening — on a campus buzzing with boys in football pads and mothers power-walking the vast church parking lots — about 75 locals gathered for a financial empowerment seminar in a cavernous church auditorium. Deirdre Cox, a loan officer at a local mortgage company, stood in front of a PowerPoint slide that read, "WHAT IS FINANCIAL STEWARDSHIP?"
"You all are in the midst of wisdom tonight," she said. "Amen?"
"Amen," the crowd assented.
She argued that homeownership, like prayer, was "a lifestyle." She told them to maintain excellent credit. She told them there was still a way — using something she called a "Grace and Mercy Loan" — to get into a house with a credit score of under 620.