“We’re growing tremendously,” the Rev. Charles Gregory said.
The pastor said the church needs more room for its services and ministries, which include a food pantry and clothes ministry. Gregory said the church provides new and used clothing to people in need, from infants to adults.
At the groundbreaking near the intersection of Blue Mountain Road and Noble Street, architect Cal Munroe said the new sanctuary will seat 500 people. Currently the church has about 340 members, and about 250 to 300 fill the pews each Sunday at its current location on Wilmer Avenue, according to church administrator Teresia Hall. She said the expanded fellowship hall will accommodate about 200 people.
Gregory and other church members emphasized the church’s mission of bringing people together.
“This church is yet a place for people of all races, of all backgrounds, of all social standings to be able to come and hear a message of hope which will transform your lives for the good,” Gregory said.
After the groundbreaking, Deacon Isaiah Roberts echoed the clergyman’s message.
“Everyone has a chance to come in and worship in his own way,” he said. “We don’t specify black. We want people: black, white, Latino, Asian, African, everybody. This is God’s church, not our church.”
Memorial event for 5-year-old
Gregory also announced his hope to bring the community together to celebrate the life of Gregory Caver, who lived next door to the church’s current location and attended Sunday School there. The 5-year-old died last Friday after he had been beaten with a belt by his mother’s boyfriend, according to authorities.
“We’re going to ask all city officials, social action agencies, all clergymen of all races, to join us … to bring an awareness to this type of violence which is yet in our community,” he said. “We cannot allow the loss of little Gregory’s life to go unanswered.”
The event, which Gregory hopes will create a community-wide conversation about how to alleviate the problems of domestic violence and child abuse locally, will be held at the church, 2418 Wilmer Ave., at 6 p.m. on Aug. 16.
“Let’s let the world know,” he added, “we stand for the safety of all people and all children everywhere.”
Staff writer Paige Rentz: 256-235-3564. On Twitter @PRentz_Star.