Historic Friendship Baptist Church Votes to Sell Property for New Falcons Stadium
It was Atlanta's first independent black Baptist congregation.
Friendship Baptist Church was established in 1862 and has been in its current location in downtown Atlanta for 134 years.
Yesterday, the congregation voted to accept the Atlanta Falcons’ $19.5 million offer to buy the property.
Immediately after Sunday's church service, the congregation moved to their fellowship hall for a final vote on selling the property. Lloyd Hawk, chairman of the Board of Trustees would not disclose the numbers, but said the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of selling.
“We all know that a stadium does not transform a community. We see this as an opportunity as a church to expand the already existing ministries we have within the community to make them even greater and more transformative to this community, because we feel that is an important element”.
Hawk says this decision was made based only on what was best for the church.
“We weren’t going to make a decision based on what a football team needed, and quite frankly, that was the least of our concerns and decisions”.
82-year-old Lafayette Beamon has been a member of Friendship Baptist for 35 years. He says that while he’s saddened by the decision, he thinks they made the right choice.
"All you have to do is come down here on a Sunday during a football game, and you know it’s not a good location for a church. That’s the thing you have to take into consideration when you say if it’s a good decision or a bad one. It’s just not the place you want to have a church anymore".
Chairman Hawk says they don’t know yet when their final service at this location will be, though they already have a few new locations to consider and will make a final choice in two to three months.