And so it begins! Excitement was in the air as the church assembled outside. Almost 18 months after moving out of its longtime home to make way for the Atlanta Falcon’s new stadium, FBC broke ground on property in the same neighborhood. The celebration brought out not only church members, but city leaders and former Mayor Andrew Young.
“I have been a member of the clergy for more than 30 years and many of my colleagues have opted to vacate the city for the acreage in the suburbs,” says Rev. Richard W. Wills, the church’s new pastor, who became the church’s seventh pastor in its long history. “It is very significant that this congregation decided to be faithful to the disadvantaged of the city and remain in the community.”
Friendship Baptist Church was established in 1862 and independently organized in 1866, in the days following the Civil War. Friendship is Atlanta’s first black Baptist autonomous congregation. The church began in a discarded railroad boxcar that was donated by a church in Cincinnati, OH. By 1865, it was used for early classes at the burgeoning Atlanta University and is the birthplace of Spelman College.
Van Winkle Construction and C.D. Moody will build the new 44,000 square-foot facility designed by local architect, CDH Partners. The new building should be completed in spring 2017.