Alvelyn Sanders uses her phone to take photographs as the facade of Friendship Baptist Church is knocked down Monday evening July 28, 2014 to make way for the new Falcons’ stadium. BEN GRAY / AJ FILE PHOTO

Historic black church, displaced by Mercedes-Benz Stadium, has new home

An Atlanta congregation displaced by the construction of Mercedes-Benz Stadium will open its new church next weekend.

Friendship Baptist Church, a black church that dates back to 1862, held its last service at its home between Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and Mitchell Street in May 2014. The church was demolished that July.

The church’s new home is at 80 Walnut St. in Atlanta.

VIDEO: Demolition of Friendship Baptist Church

Friendship Baptist Church demolition begins

July 29, the church will hold a ribbon cutting at the space. The next day, congregants will walk from the old location to the new. They will have their first service in the new space, followed by a dedication.

Richard W. Willis, Sr., the church’s senior pastor, will be presiding. Willis is the church’s seventh pastor since its founding, 155 years ago.

In a proclamation commemorating the church, Fulton County officials said its role in black education had been unique. Spelman College had its beginning in the church basement in 1881, the proclamation said, and Morehouse College started classes there when it moved to Atlanta from Augusta two years prior.

The church will hold a community festival Sept. 9 and 10.

The AJC's Arielle Kass keeps you updated on the latest happenings in Fulton County government and politics. You'll find more on, including these stories:

Never miss a minute of what's happening in Fulton politics. Subscribe to

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.