(By Alva James-Johnson, The Ledger-Enquirer). A congregation that formed in the aftermath of a controversial vote at First Presbyterian Church of Columbus, GA, two years ago has acquired land to build its own worship center.
The Rev. Chuck Hasty, pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church, said the congregation now owns nine acres donated by church member Jack Wright, president of Ray M. Wright Inc., a home building company. He said the property is located on an island of land bordered by River Road, Britton Drive and Double Churches Road. The church is currently purchasing another three acres at the location and will begin interviewing architects on May 15.
“The land is visible and on a well-traveled road,” he said. “But it’s in a park-like setting with trees and other natural features. We will keep the natural beauty as much as we can during construction and development of the land.”
Former members of First Presbyterian started the congregation in 2015, after an effort to split from the Presbyterian Church (USA) over gay marriage and other doctrinal issues fell eight votes shy of the two-thirds required for dismissal. [The church is now a member of ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians.]
Hasty, who served as pastor of First Presbyterian during the controversial vote, joined the new congregation a few months later. After meeting at two other locations, the congregation began worshiping in a building owned by Rock Presbyterian Church, a predominantly Korean congregation located in a former movie theater at The Landings.
Yet, Grace Presbyterian — which has about 140 members — is looking forward to moving to their new home, said Hasty. The church held an Easter service at the site and it already has a cross erected at the location.