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Greater Piney Grove Baptist opens new $4 million sanctuary

8/8/2014, 6 a.m.

— Elected officials, community leaders, politicians and visiting clergy joined Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church’s senior pastor, the Rev. William E. Flippin Sr., and his congregation on Aug. 2 for the grand opening of their new sanctuary.

The march into the new 7,200-square-foot sanctuary coincided with the church’s celebration of its 100th anniversary. It also kicked off an array of events being held throughout the month of August.

The new 1,300-seat sanctuary was built at a cost of $4 million. It doubles the size of the old church, which has been renamed the Frank Jones Memorial Chapel for the church’s fourth pastor who led the congregation for 33 years. Jones died in 1989 and was succeeded by Flippin in 1990.

The chapel will become the youth and children’s church.

The dedication sermon to an audience of more than 1,000 members and friends was delivered by the Rev. Dr. H. Beecher Hicks Jr. from Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington.

Guests included U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson and his wife, Mereda Davis Johnson; U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn; interim DeKalb CEO Lee May; DeKalb Commissioners Larry Johnson and Sharon Barnes Sutton; state Sen. Vincent Fort; state Rep. Earnest “Coach” Williams; DeKalb District Attorney Robert James; and Georgia Piedmont Technical College President Jabari Simama.

On Aug. 3, Fairfield Baptist Church’s senior pastor, the Rev. Micheal Benton, preached at the 7:15 a.m. service. Flippin, the church’s fifth pastor, delivered his first sermon in the new sanctuary at the 10:30 a.m. service.

Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church, organized in 1914, has only had five pastors in its history. Under Flippin’s leadership, the church’s membership has grown to more than 7,000.

The sanctuary, which includes a 100-seat choir loft, is located on the Greater Piney Grove campus at 1879-1921 Glenwood Ave. S.E.

Remaining activities and events for the 100th anniversary include:

n 100th Anniversary Celebration Gala, Aug. 9 at 6 p.m. at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston. For tickets, contact Miranda Mack McKenzie at 404-433-7163.

n Dedication of the new worship center, Aug. 10 at 3 p.m. with the Rev. Jerry D. Black Sr., senior pastor of Beulah Baptist Church, and the Beulah family.

n 100th Anniversary – Official Day of Celebration, Aug. 17 at 7:15 a.m. with Dr. Samuel Chand and at 10:30 a.m. with Bishop Jerry Hutchins.

n Annual Church Revival, Aug.18-20, 7 p.m. daily with lecturer the Rev. Dr. Winfred Hope of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Athens and revivalist the Rev. Dr. Marcus Cosby of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in Houston, Texas.

For more information, visit www.pineygrovebapt.org.