350-car caravan to mark church's move

Supporters of Zion Hill Baptist Church plan to mark the 138-year-old congregation's move in a big way.

At 8 a.m. Sunday, a 350-car caravan of members, community and business leaders are expected to leave the church's current facility at 815 Lynhurst Drive and proceed to its new home on 6175 Campbellton Rd. A ceremony will be held at the new site at 10 a.m., followed by the service.

The church has been in its present location for about 35 years. According to church officials, membership has risen from 700 congregants 16 years ago to more than 3,000 today.

The new church will have a 2,100-seat sanctuary, a three-level parking deck and administrative space. The second phase, which begins in a few month, will include a two-story education and family life building and the final phase of "The Rock  Project" will be 37 housing units. The cost for the  first two phases is roughly $20 million.

The church was organized in 1872 by the Rev. Robert Grant and seven former slaves.

"We are not just going to a larger edifice, but rather to actually serve more," said the Rev. Aaron L. Parker. The church is also planning several outreach projects. "When we say outreach, we're not talking about inviting people to come to church," he said. "When we say outreach, we mean going out and helping people."