New Hope Presbyterian Church, which once stood in the midst of congestion near the entrance to Shallowford Road in Hamilton Place, is set to show off its new space in a residential neighborhood about a mile to the east.
The 75-member Presbyterian Church (US) congregation moved into the new building at 7608 Shallowford Road in June. An open house Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., accompanied by door prizes and ice cream, will allow visitors to familiarize themselves with the new sanctuary, the fellowship spaces, offices, classrooms and the playground .
The old property, located at 7301 Shallowford Road, has been sold to DDC Hotels Inc., which has long been considering building a Drury Plaza hotel on the site. The company received approval to rezone the property last year.
Reverend Candace Worth, pastor since 2016, said the church’s debut would have taken place earlier, but the Easter 2020 tornadoes demolished their intended destination.
âWe had to do new construction,â she said. “The existing structure exploded.”
Formerly the First Assembly of God, the property included “an old stick-built shrine and some outbuildings,” Worth said.
Everything but a concrete shed was a complete waste, including the shrine where the church had planned to hold services when building a new church elsewhere on the property.
âThe walls exploded and the roof collapsed,â Worth said. âSo instead of moving in, we had to clean it up before we could start our new building. It delayed our move for a few months. [from May of 2020 to June of 2021]. “
DDC Hotels officials allowed the congregation to continue meeting in its old location until the new shrine was completed.
âWe have so much praise for this business,â said Marilyn Suber, a 17-year church member. “They have been absolutely wonderful.”
In other Faith News:
* Chattanooga Clergy for Justice will hold a meeting on public safety in Hamilton County Saturday at 5 p.m. at Orchard Park Seventh-day Adventist Church, 951 N. Orchard Knob Ave. Places are limited to 100 people and masks are compulsory. Register at OrchardParkChurch.org/town-hall. Read an article about the meeting in the Times Free Press on Monday.
The new location is near Grace Academy and The Lantern in Morning Pointe, both of which sustained significant damage in tornado EF3.
Worth said New Hope used their insurance settlement to clean up debris at the new site. He funded the construction with the $ 5.55 million he was paid for the Old Church, one of the few non-commercial sites remaining around Hamilton Place. The mall and its associated plots cover approximately 200 acres, and the area around Interstate 75, Shallowford Road, and Gunbarrel Road has experienced explosive growth since the mall opened in August 1987.
The new church was designed by Rardin & Carroll Architects of Chattanooga and built by Tyson & Associates Construction, based in Ringgold, Georgia.
âAlthough we have not had any prior ties to New Hope Presbyterian, we are a society of followers of Christ who have the ultimate goal of reflecting him through our work,â said James Tyson, CEO and President of the construction company.
Worth said members have focused on exceeding some of the boundaries of the original church to improve their outreach in the new location.
âIt’s much more accessible to the ADA,â she said, referring to the Americans with Disabilities Act. “The layout is on one level.”
They also added a kitchen and other living quarters for community organizations that meet there, such as Girl Scouts and 12-step groups.
Community consciousness also extends beyond the walls of the church. Members are evaluating options for the surrounding land.
âUltimately we would like to have trails on those 5 acres,â Worth said. “Maybe a prayer garden and things like that.”
She noticed that the younger residents of the neighborhood used part of the field for soccer games.
“So they might not want us to put trails,” she said with a laugh. “But that’s what we want, for people to feel comfortable that this is a place for them.”
Worth said that “just walking across Gunbarrel made a difference” in making the church feel like the neighborhood it was when it was founded almost 50 years ago. .
âThis is where God calls us to be,â she said.
Contact Lisa Denton at [email protected] or 423-757-6281.