Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta was 152 years old. Now the city’s oldest church has closed its doors. This past weekend, Friendship Baptist held its last service.
The church is selling its building on Mitchell Street for $19.5 million to make way for the new Atlanta Falcons stadium, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The church holds its place not only in black American religious history, but also in civil rights and education.
“The legacy stretches back to 1862 in a building that gave birth to Spelman College. The first classes were held in the church basement. The first classes were held in the church basement,” reports The Grio.
Pastor Emeritus the Rev. William Guy told the church’s congregation not to mourn the loss of the building. “The church is more than the building. The church is the people,” he said. It will rebuild in the Vine City community, but until then Friendship will hold services on the Morehouse College campus, Channel 2 Action News reports.
Friendship isn’t the only church in Atlanta selling. “Nearby Mount Vernon Baptist Church also agreed to sell for $14.5 million for the stadium project. That church held its final service in March and the congregation moved temporarily to Carver College.