VOL. 110 | NO. 182 | Thursday, September 19, 1996
lj 10/5 cates
Churches play musical chairs to accommodate congregations
By LAURIE JOHNSON
The Daily News
In an effort to accommodate changing congregation needs and demographics, two Memphis area churches have sold their property and are gearing up to build new facilities.
The CrossRoads United Methodist Church, formerly known as the St. James United Methodist Church, has sold its church facility to The House of Prayer, a nondenominational congregation, for $800,000.
The property, located in Parkway Village at the corner of Knight Arnold Road and Knight Road, contains approximately 25,000 square feet of space on 2.5 acres and its sanctuary seats about 550.
The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints sold its property, which contains about 20,000 square feet on 5.1 acres, to the 7th Day Adventist Church of Memphis.
Both of the transactions were handled by Charles Callis, vice president and broker for the commercial division of Crye-Leike Inc., Realtors.
The two transactions, which were completed during the past two months, benefited both the buyers and sellers, said Callis, who is known in real estate circles as "The Church Man," because he has specialized in handling sales of church property for the past 14 years.
The House of Prayer, formerly located at 261 Mitchell Road, was in dire need of additional space for its growing congregation, said David Cooper, minister of the church.
"All we really had was a sanctuary with a couple of classrooms and an office and a house in the back we used for Sunday School, so we just flat ran out of room," Cooper said. "The new church will give us plenty of room."
Another reason for the need for increased space is that the church is in the process of opening a day care center, Cooper said.
The new location will give the congregation not only a sanctuary, but about 12 classrooms, a fellowship hall that will accommodate 300, a full-size kitchen and parking for about 90 vehicles.
CrossRoads, on the other hand, is moving in order to revive its membership.
CrossRoads has purchased 15 acres for $525,000 at the corner of Shelby Drive and Mayfield Road in southeast Shelby County and will begin construction this fall on a $1.8 million facility, which will include a multipurpose building and chapel.
"Basically, the church decided it would rather relocate than die," said Lisa Baxter, spokesperson for CrossRoads. The church has been experiencing a significant membership decline because a large portion of its congregation has moved to other areas of the county, mainly east and southeast Shelby County. The CrossRoads congregation currently has about 300 members, 175 of which are considered active, she said.
"We chose the area because it was growing," Baxter said. "The neighborhood that we are moving into is targeted for a large amount of construction, and we have heard that an additional 6,000 homes are expected to be built in the area by 1999.
"We wanted to put a Methodist presence out there and grow with the community."
Crossroads will begin construction this fall and expects to begin holding worship services in the new church by the fall of 1997.
Although the church is planning to contract the construction work out itself, it has hired local contractor Bill Holt to serve as construction manager for the project.
The House of Prayer has completed its move into its new church home. Until Crossroads new church is complete, the congregation will be holding worship services in a warehouse on Wildwood Drive in Olive Branch.
Peace Chapel has decided to build a new church facility so the congregation will have an actual sanctuary, Callis said. The churchs current facility, located at Cordova Road and Autumn Creek, has a family life center and education space, but no sanctuary.
The presence of a family life center was a major attraction to the Peace Chapel facility for the 7th Day Adventists, who plan to build a sanctuary on the property.
The 7th Day Adventist Church, which has been located on the Corner of Poplar and Park avenues for many years, purchased the property to move closer to its congregation, which, like that of CrossRoads, has been slowly but surely moving east during the past several years, Callis said.
Peace Chapel is planning to build a new church on about 10 acres on Brunswick Road, close to Davies Plantation.
Until Peace Chapel builds its new church, it will co-occupy the property with the 7th Day Adventist congregation, which is a possibility because 7th Day Adventists worship on Saturday.