Friday, Birmingham pastors and two state lawmakers gathered at a closed cemetery to urge those with a financial stake into George Washington Carver Memorial Gardens to take immediate action.
The pastors said many in their congregations are worried about the cemetery's closure.
"The one questions they have posed to many of us pastors across the city, 'What am I going to do when I pass?' We want to be sure we are out in front of our support of Carver," Patrick Sellers, Pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, said.
The cemetery closed suddenly in September and recently filed for bankrupcty. State Rep. Juandalyn Given has organized informational meetings to be sure that those who invested in a plot or who have loved ones at Carver have filed credit claim forms in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Givan said the deadline for filing a claim form is Feb. 3, 2014. A creditors meeting is set in bankruptcy court Nov. 8.
Residents are advised to file a B10 proof of claim form in the case using case #13-04509.
To print a copy of the document, please visit: http://www.uscourts.gov/uscourts/RulesAndPolicies/rules/BK_Forms_Current/B_010.pdf .
Claims should be mailed to the United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District, Robert S. Vance Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, 18000 5th Avenue North in Birmingham, AL 35203.
The pastors fear filling out the forms may be too complicated for some, especially the elderly.
"Many of the persons who have purchased property out here are elderly. We want to offer them some assistance getting those papers filled out," Pastor E.O. Jackson of Greater New Antioch Baptist Church said.
Many pastors fear members of their congregations may be out in the cold unless they act.
"They have been left out in the cold. The wind has blown away their hopes and aspirations and they feel they are about to freeze up," Pastor Steve Small of the New Life Missionary Baptist Church said.
The Birmingham Chapter of the Metro NAACP is offering assistance. The pastors are also looking to set up a day of help for anyone with the credit claim forms. Givan is planning another informational meeting about the cemetery's bankruptcy. Givan and Rep. Rod Scott are also trying to take the pastors to Montgomery to meet with Gov. Robert Bentley to seek his help.
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