Mount Zion members bid farewell to church building

Members of the congregation of Mount Zion Baptist Church in west Cobb bid an emotional farewell to the church’s old sanctuary on Tuesday morning as the decaying building was torn down.

The building, at the corner of Powder Springs Street and Macland Road, is more than a half-century old and has been determined structurally unsound.

Pastor Ted McClung said Tuesday that engineers determined that “the structure was damaged to the point that it was unsalvageable.”

McClung said the church did not have the financial resources to repair the building, “so we’re going to push it down and start over.

“I am so upset ...” he said. “It’s very troubling to me right now.”

Still, McClung said Tuesday’s demolition marked “the end of one era but a great, great beginning of another for us.”

Karen Casey, who came to the church Tuesday to see the demolition, said her mother, Clara Turner, 86, has attended Mount Zion since the early ’50s. “It’s so heartbreaking, she can’t come out here today,” she said.

Casey said she was baptized in the church and met her future husband there when both were teenagers.

Sybil Casey recalled the church’s early days.

“My husband was a twin and they used to come over -- they lived across the street -- and build a fire for the congregation. I just wish he could be here. There’s a lot of memories.”

Worship services will be held temporarily in a church wing that formerly housed a fellowship hall. Plans for a new building are not yet finalized.

The steeple of the church was removed on Friday.

On Sunday afternoon, members gathered at the site to take photos, sing hymns and share memories.

Mt. Zion’s membership once numbered in the hundreds but has shrunk to about 50 active members. McClung said he became pastor last year.

“One door’s closing but another door’s opening in front of us,” he said.