“Opening Day” – Stories From The Patch – (Pt 13):
It was amazing how much work had been done inside and outside the building we were about to purchase. Yesterday you were informed of donations that were made to the church by several families. The reality is, many families and individuals were involved which saved us tons of money. Foyer furniture, plants, pictures, new Sunday School chairs, entry rugs, water supply source to make coffee (there was no kitchen – only running water was in bathrooms), cabinets for coffee, vacuums and much more were purchased with families donating toward a certain thing making it possible to buy immediately. Finally, the big day arrived. Jeff Farnsworth and I traveled to an Attorney’s office in Atlanta and signed the contract making Marietta First Church of the Nazarene the sole owner of 4341 Dallas Highway in Marietta, Ga. The date was Friday August 31, 2012 at noon. The date is significant because I’ve shared a number of things that needed to be done before we could open. Many of these projects were now completed or close to it. Another “rush” was added because there were still things to do. We started announcing our first day of worship in this building would be Sunday September 9th. That was only nine days after closing – so glad I had a key in my possession all this time. The school was notified we were moving out which meant there were a number of things there that had to be moved.
September 11th is a day most Americans will never forget. I hope not anyway. We have always “Remembered” this day in honor of the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives in the vicious terrorist attack on the United States. Our opening day was Sunday the 9th so it didn’t matter where we’d be worshipping, remembering 9/11 would be a major part of the service. In “Remembrance” of this day, a week in advance, we lined our frontage on Dallas Highway as well as the long winding drive that brings you to the building with one hundred 3’X5′ American flags. It wasn’t the purpose, but all these flags blowing in the breeze couldn’t help but be noticed by the heavy traffic passing by. It was a tribute to our Country and those who died, but it also let our community know something was happening on this property after it had set vacant for a long period of time.
The first service was special and people were excited for the opportunity to worship in their new facility and with everything cleaned up, it was a very nice atmosphere. Everyone knew though, this was just a start – there was still lots to do. The building only had 5 very small class rooms above the foyer. This meant no place for children nor was there office space. Very quickly a modular building was bought which was large enough for our Children’s Ministry and four offices. A year later another modular was purchased for our teens. A lighted cross for the exterior front of the church and a playground was donated. Eventually a sound booth, pantry, stage lighting and new lights throughout the building were put in. Canopies were added above the exterior doors, the interior of the church was completely re-painted and new carpet which was donated laid. The yard in front and back of the church needed constant work and a big thanks to Scott Creasy and George Clark for their diligence in doing something each year to improve it. The roof and gutters needed lots of work, new lights were installed throughout the church, the exterior of the building sealed and re-painted, two 20 ton furnaces purchased, sound system improved, two storage sheds bought, parking lot sealed and striped, and just recently, for the first time since coming onto the property, all the upper exterior lights have been replaced and are in working order. You should also know Chuck Gibson and I signed the papers completing the sale of the Barrett Parkway property on October 31st (last day of Pumpkin Patch) 2013. All of the things mentioned were either donated by families/individuals or the money was raised by the congregation (above tithes & offerings) in most cases before a certain project began. Our original loan was for $800,000. Today we owe less than $290,000.
On a personal note, another major addition to the property began in June 2019. It was the construction of a Pavilion. On October 5th of that year, Chris and I were blown away with a special event put on by the church celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary as well as our 50th year of ministry. The whole night was a surprise, but two additional surprises were added. One, our four grandkids presented us a wooden plaque engraved with their favorite scripture. These plaques have been hung in each of the four corners of the pavilion. The second surprise was an engraved plaque with the words, “Carnes Family Pavilion” dedicated October 5, 2019 which now hangs on front of the pavilion. We were very pleased to have our current District Superintendent, Rev. Kyle Poole and his wife Julie with us. Pastor Poole dedicated our newest addition that night. Earlier this month the final touches of the pavilion were completed with the most beautiful (lighted) stone outdoor fireplace you could ever imagine. We can never thank the tremendous people of Marietta First, our Devotional Family and (since COVID), a large Livestream family enough for all the love and support given us. We are truly humbled. Again, we are thankful to God and His blessings upon those who are willing to trust Him. Sometimes we have to draw circles and let Him know we mean business, but He will NEVER fail us.