Tour Stop 7
468 Park Avenue
Park Avenue Baptist Church
Originally constituted as the Fifth Baptist Church of Atlanta in 1870, the congregation now known as Park Avenue Baptist Church has been located in Grant Park since moving from Woodward Avenue in1927.
The sanctuary and original educational spaces were built in 1938. Under the 37-year pastorate of Dr. L.E. Smith, Park Avenue built a strong Christian educational program with over 700 people in regular Sunday School attendance. To accommodate the growth, the educational building (the left side, when viewed from Park Avenue) was constructed in 1952-53.
Minor sanctuary renovations also occurred during the 1950s, including the relocation and centering of the baptistry. The beautiful stained glass above the baptistry was commissioned and dedicated in memory of members who had fallen during World War II.
The church fell into disrepair in subsequent years due to declining membership and dwindling resources. Facing closure, the church called a new pastor in 2005 who sought creative ways to engage the community. Old education space on the third floor was renovated into a sleeping area and showers were added in some restrooms to accommodate mission service groups. The mission program has welcomed over 6,500 individuals who have provided 150,000 hours of service to communities in Atlanta. The bottom floor was also renovated and hosts The Children’s Garden Preschool. In 2011, the Homework Hotspot and Summer Literacy Camp programs were started to serve neighborhood families.
Today, Park Avenue has adopted a flat leadership model that includes six bi-vocational pastors who alternate preaching and make decisions in consensus. The church has grown to represent the diversity of Grant Park, becoming an inclusive space that affirms and welcomes all races, classes, ages, gender and sexual identities. Please feel free to ask questions at any of the displays and someone will be glad to assist you.