Friendship Baptist votes "Yes" to stadium deal

7:03 PM, Sep 22, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- Friendship Baptist Church "overwhelmingly" voted in favor of the new Falcons stadium, according to Lloyd Hawk, who is a chairman of the church's board of trustees.

"After careful prayerful and deliberate consideration of all this this proposal means to our church, the community, to our missions, ministry and service, the congregation of friendship baptist church has overwhelmingly agreed to accept the proposed agreement between ourselves, the Atlanta falcons organization and the city of Atlanta to sell our current site," Hawk said. 

The deal with the church is worth $19.5 million. 

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"We believe with this transaction and our ability to remain in our community we will be able to provide an even greater level of service and ministry which is so desperately needed in order to transform this community to the heights it is capable of achieving and so desperately deserving," Hawk added.

According to Hawk, the entire congregation voted on the deal however, the final tally was not released.

Friendship Baptist Church has been around for 151 years and at it's current location for 134 years.

"(The) church has been here 151 years. It's sad but it's good for the church," said Lafayette Beamon, who used to be a church member at Friendship Baptist.
"It was the right thing to do. It makes a lot of sense, business sense. Sometimes religion and business don't quite meet. You can't grow a church with a football stadium across the street."

After the deal was announced, Mayer Kasim Reed congratulated everyone involved in the deal with a tweet. 

Mayor Reed also released a statement shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon. 

"Today's vote by the congregation of Friendship Baptist Church is the result of a great deal of cooperation and hard work over many weeks. This was not an easy process, but I believe all the parties involved kept true to the Atlanta way by coming together to make a decision in a fair, open fashion for the overall benefit of our city. I appreciate the efforts of the Friendship Board of Trustees, Chairman Lloyd Hawk, Rev. Dr. Emmanuel McCall and the entire Friendship congregation.

I am excited about the positive impact that the expanded ministries of both Friendship Baptist Church and Mount Vernon Baptist Church will have in the community in the months and years ahead. I also look forward to the construction of an iconic Atlanta Falcons stadium that is easily accessible to all of our city's residents and brings well-paying jobs and greater business opportunities to the surrounding historic neighborhoods of Vine City, English Avenue and Castleberry Hill."

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