Group trying to save church from Falcons' wrecking ball - CBS46 News

Group trying to save church from Falcons' wrecking ball

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell is expected to be among the dignitaries in attendance for the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Atlanta Falcons stadium Monday.

The groundbreaking is scheduled for 8 p.m. in downtown Atlanta.

In the meantime, a group of citizens is trying to save a historic church from the Falcons' wrecking ball.

Friendship Baptist Church was founded in 1866 and is Atlanta's oldest black Baptist church, according to its website.

The congregation agreed in September to sell its land to the Falcons and build a new campus elsewhere. Now, a group not affiliated with the church is planning to ask Atlanta City Council members to give them time to raise enough money to move Friendship's original church structure to a different location.

"Especially on the west side of Atlanta, this is the most historical and significant piece of our history and our legacy," said John H. Lewis, III, of the group Atlanta Beloved Community Coalition. "The history for us as a community is larger than the congregation itself. It is our history, the history not only of Atlanta, of Georgia, but world history as well."  

Molly Woo is also a member of the citizens group.

"It would be a fabulous cultural center," Woo said. "I think of 50,000 Atlanta school students who could take a field trip to see where it all happened in this building, and learn the history from people, some who are still living."

Another church, Mount Vernon Baptist, also sold its land to the Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center. Mount Vernon Baptist has already been demolished.

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