It is the beginning of a new chapter of the life of historical Friendship Baptist Church, and CDH Partners will join in on the next part of the story. The Marietta firm was selected as the design firm for the project, which includes the construction of a new sanctuary, chapel, educational space, and fellowship hall. Over the last few weeks demolition began on the what will become the new site for the church.
The church’s building committee recently unveiled plans for the new church campus that will be located on property once owned by Interdenominational Theological Center. Plans call for the new church to be completed in April 2017, which is the church’s 155th anniversary. The new 44,000 square foot church will contain state-of-the-art technology, and a sanctuary that will seat 500 people. The flexible Fellowship Hall will contain a stage and room for over 450 people, while a smaller chapel will seat 200.
Friendship Baptist was displaced when the Atlanta Falcons began to acquire property for a new stadium. Twenty-five former slaves established the church in 1862. It was independently organized in 1866 and became the first African American Baptist church in Atlanta. In the beginning, church services were held in a donated railroad boxcar given to Friendship Baptist by a church in Ohio. It was used for church services on Sunday and as a classroom for youth during the week
The church’s congregation grew quickly and moved to the corner of Haynes and Markham Streets. It relocated to Northside Drive and later to Mitchell Street before selling its property in 2014 to the Atlanta Falcons. Both Spelman and Morehouse Colleges began in the basement of this church. These schools became a part of the larger Atlanta University. The church is also the “Mother” church to nine other African American Baptist congregations.
Many elements of the historical Friendship Church building have been preserved and will be incorporated into the new building. Stained glass windows will be reused along with the church’s original bell and pipe organ.
CDH Partners is consistently one of the top 25 architectural firms in Georgia. It was founded in 1977 and has repeatedly been recognized as one of the most progressive architectural firms in the state of Georgia and the southeast.