Historic Black Church In Atlanta, Displaced By New Falcons Stadium, Gets New Home

Alvelyn Sanders uses her phone to take photographs as the facade of Friendship Baptist Church is knocked down Monday evening July 28, 2014 to make way for the new Falcons’ stadium. BEN GRAY / AJ FILE PHOTO

An Atlanta congregation displaced by the construction of a Mercedes-Benz Stadium will open its new church next weekend.

Friendship Baptist Church, a black church that dates back to 1862, held its last service at its home between Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and Mitchell Street in May 2014. The church was demolished that July.

The church’s new home is at 80 Walnut St. in Atlanta.

July 29, the church will hold a ribbon cutting at the space. The next day, congregants will walk from the old location to the new. They will have their first service in the new space, followed by a dedication.

Richard W. Willis, Sr., the church’s senior pastor, will be presiding. Willis is the church’s seventh pastor since its founding, 155 years ago.

In a proclamation commemorating the church, Fulton County officials said its role in black education had been unique. Spelman College had its beginning in the church basement in 1881, the proclamation said, and Morehouse College started classes there when it moved to Atlanta from Augusta two years prior.

The church will hold a community festival Sept. 9 and 10.

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SOURCE: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution – Arielle Kass

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