I love this story.
It involves atheists meeting in a (former) church. Alcohol plays a role.
The Atlanta Freethought Society just purchased what used to be the Collins Springs Primitive Baptist Church.
(Tip: If you’re in charge of naming a church, don’t call it “Primitive”… you’re just asking us to make fun of you)
“We’re not taking over a church,” said longtime society leader Ed Buckner. “We bought a building that used to be a church.”
In fact, Buckner said, he imagines fondly gatherings at the church for weddings, funerals and covered-dish dinners in earlier days. He said he hopes the freethinkers also will pull in neighbors and friends for special events.
How did the atheist get control of the building?
Kroger (a grocery chain) wanted to set up shop across the street…
But county ordinances prohibited the sale of alcohol within 600 feet of a church. Collins Springs Primitive Baptist Church was too close.
So, the developer offered to buy the church property and the remaining members agreed.
“The building was in disrepair,” said [Elder Charles Westbrook, whose father was pastor of the church,] “and we didn’t have the money to keep it up.”
The Kroger was built — despite other attempts to avert it — and a beer and wine license was granted.
At least the Christians aren’t putting up a fight. (And, again, note the easy “primitive” joke the article’s author dangles in front of us…:)
Westbrook, the Primitive Baptist pastor, said atheists’ meetings might not be what he would have chosen for the historic building, but the church lives on.
“If they had wanted to turn it into a dance hall, it would be the same thing,” he said. “But that’s just a building. The church is the people. That’s just a place where the church could meet.”
It’s big news anytime a local freethought groups gets the funding to purchase their own building, so kudos to Ed Buckner and the Atlanta Freethought Society for making this happen.