Clipped From The Jackson Sun
2 The Jackson .Sun. Jackson Tennessee - :"""i-.. h q'HfeiB's Phy sica Area churches witness, year 6f new f dei I (ties By BETTYE ANDERSON Sun Reporter The year 1980 for many Jackson area churches was marked by various physical changes, and a number of other churches have laid out building plans for the new year. Despite inflation and rising construction costs, several congregations seeking relocation mainly in the mushrooming residential and business districts of north Jackson ran up a multi-million dollar construction bill. Two of the city's oldest churches First Baptist and Hays Avenue (Alders-gate) United Methodist uprooted their congregations and moved to the northwest area they believe is fast becoming the center of Jackson. . Suffering from a gradual decline in membership and attendance, such "inner city" churches as First Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the East Jackson congregations of Calvary Baptist, Parkview Baptist, First Pentecostal and First Church of the Nazarene also planned to relocate. Church censuses indicated most of their members and city newcomers viewed as prospective members were settling in the northwest area. In addition to these planned moves and relocations, several new congregations have been formed and a number have shuffled pulpits. First Baptist members occupied their $3.5 million church complex at 1627 N. Highland Ave. in early March. The facility contains a 1,600-seat sanctuary, featuring a raised pulpit and a 400-square-foot stained glass window imported from Barcelona, Spain. Circling the auditorium on two levels are Sunday School rooms and offices, a prayer chapel, library, choir rooms and music department. Wings leading off the circle contain a kindergarten and day care center, fellowship hall with theater equipment and a Christian Life Center with gymnasium. Members of Aldersgate occupied the first unit of their new structure at 1050 North Parkway in late September. Recently, the congregation that formed 111 years ago started construction of a new sanctuary at the site. Aldersgate's history started in 1869 . when the first congregation, calling itself Paine's Chapel, was organized on Gates Street. The congregation later joined the Episcopal Church South denomination and became a United Methodist congregation in 1939. Members worshipped in a tent before the sanctuary on Hays was built in 1894. Cumberland Street Missionary Baptist Church bought the old Hays Avenue church in June and members occupied the structure as the Aldersgate congregation departed for their new sanctuary. The old Cumberland building at 567 N. Cumberland is now the home of Greater Galilee Missionary Baptist Church. . The Rev. R. A. Bivens, pastor of Aiders-gate, said the first building phase on North Parkway cost about $400,000, and contains office and Sunday School space and a fellowship hall where members have been worshipping until the new ain ditorium is completed. The auditorium, which will cost an additional $400,000, is due to be completed this summer, Bivens said. First Baptist's vacated home at East ; Lafayette and Cumberland in downtown Jackson, built in 1910, was bought and occupied by Southside Pentecostal Church, which has been renamed The Lighthouse Pentecostal Church. Members of the Church of Christ once housed in the old Johnson Memorial Presbyterian Church building on. Hollywood f K & 1. -. J- s j- - ' ' - , ;t-C I ' " ' - - i. : I -,v - ,v s - - ' I v ' M "SL "iw!3 f I I IKH3N!K . (f It f :' IwLp i - Woodland Baptist Church completed its $18,000 prayer chapel during 1980. The Rev. Bob Ervin, pastor, stands outside the structure, which is used frequently by the church's intercessory prayer ministry group. This group prays continually for local, state and national government leaders, as well as world problems. Drive opened their new auditorium on Old Hickory Boulevard in 1980. The $120,000 structure, containing a 170seat. auditorium, six classrooms, a nursery and office space, was built in an area where duplexes and single and multi-family units are growing. A portion of the old Presbyterian building was bought by the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union. The remainder was torn down. Woodland Baptist Church, 365 Wallace Road, completed an $18,000 prayer chapel on the church grounds last year. The Rev. Bob Ervin, pastor, said the chapel is a dream of the congregation and will serve as the base for meetings of the church's intercessory prayer ministry group. The group, he said, prays continually for Jackson, local, state and national government , leaders and world problems such as matin Iran. The 30-member congregation of First Church of God Fellowship Sanctuary moved into its new home just off Hollywood after holding meetings in homes and in a suite of rooms at Watkins Towers. Members of the congregation literally put together the new structure, which is the first of a three-phase building program. ; The group organized in 1977 and is affiliated with the Church of God headquarted in Anderson, Ind. The Church of Christ at 726 Middleton . St. gave up at least 51 of its members to start a mission church in the Denmark area. Members of the newly formed congregation occupied the Denmark Road sanctuary in November. The old church at 250 Chester Levee Road, formerly occupied by Meridian Baptist Church and Southside United Pen-: tecostal Church, was claimed last year for a newly formed congregation named Southside Church of God. Occupying a structure that housed two previously successful congregations, members of the newly formed Church of God are hoping the other church's success will rub off. A new congregation of the Lutheran Church in America formed here last year with more than 100 persons signing the church's charter. Messiah Lutheran Church, started by the Rev. Neal Orabka, Sun staff photo ..,.: has plans to build in the northwest area of Jackson but its option on property at U.S. 45 Bypass and Country Club Lane is currently tied up in litigation. Orabka said the group will not be officially recognized as an organized congregation until April 1981. The congregation now worships at St. Mary's School. In related 1980 events, Mother Liberty CME Church, regarded as the "mother church" by the Christian Methodist. Episcopal denomination, received a marker designating it as an historical site by the Tennessee Historical Commission. The church is at South Highland Avenue and Church Street. St. Mary's Catholic Church started a new ministry through multi-storied St. Mary's Manor, a complex for the elderly and handicapped. The structure will be dedicated this month. Open house will be 3 : 30-6 p.m. Jan. 17 and 1 : 30-3 p.m. Jan. 18. In early December, Calvary Baptist members unveiled plans to build a first unit, with a temporary auditorium and educational space, in late 1981 on Oil Well Road, Long-range plans include building of a permanent auditorium and additional educational space, the Rev. Paul Clarke pastor, said:-' -Vi ---"f. ,'c,.;A Clark said the church has acquired 13 acres of land on Oil Well Road, east of U.S. 45 Bypass. Funds for construction are to be raised over a 13-month period. . Organized in 1887 as Second Baptist Church, the Calvary congregation has occupied facilities at 369 Lexington Ave. for the past 50 years. Clark said the church has 975 members on its roll, but 313 of these are nonresidents of the East Jackson community. Parkview Baptist has purchased 14 acres of land on Chris tmasville Road between Bedford White Road and Holland Lane, and the Rev. Alvin Gilliland, pastor, said plans are to start construction in the spring. ; Gilliland said the size and types of structures to be tmilt on the Christmasville Road site depends on the sale of the church's property at 900 E. Chester St, "If we could build what we want to build , , right now, it would cost us an estimated $350J000-$375,000," he explained. He said revenue bonds have been sold to raise con struction funds and an architect has -started drawing blueprints. If the church is successful in selling its - old property, Gilliland said, plans will include a 240-seat sanctuary and Sunday School facilities to accommodate about 200. A "for sale" sign also occupies space on the front lawn of First Pentecostal Church at 322 Lexington. The Rev. L.J. Johns, pastor, said members plan to change its name and move to an area at Wallace Road and North Parkway. Plans call for construction of a Colonial or Greek Parthenon-type structure that will seat about 500, starting early this year. The congregation of about 70 members has become an independent church and is hoping to reach others of similar beliefs. The church will be the sixth one to locate on North Parkway. The state is buying the property of First Church of the Nazarene on East Chester. . The congregation, which has purchased property on Old Medina Road near Ridgecrest Road, is being forced to relocate to make way for. the new U.S. 70 Bypass extension through East Jackson. Timing of the relocation depends on the progress of the highway project, a church official said. Early last year, about 20 members of; the church pulled away to form Central' Church of the Nazarene. A church official; said both groups are moving toward building new church homes. Central Church members, now meeting at Northside Lions Club, are expected to receive assistance from the Department of Home Missions and the general church loan fund when a new church site is selected. First Cumberland Presbyterian at 405 E. College St., where members have voted not to stay in the downtown Jackson area, is one of four remaining inner city churches, including Lighthouse Pentcos-tal, First United Methodist at 315 E. Chester St. and St. Luke's Episcopal at 309 E. Baltimore St. , Suffering from steadily declining membership over a period of several years, members of First Cumberland have approved relocation plans although a final site has not been selected.'