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Missions Center to have tighter sale conditions


Joe Westbury/Index

David Baker, left, administrative pastor of Hebron Baptist Church and Executive Committee parliamentarian, listens in on the discussion of the future of the Baptist Center while Executive Committee Chairman Herman Parker presides. Parker is pastor of First Baptist Church of Bremen.

Any future sale of the Baptist Missions and Ministry Center will come with tighter sale conditions as the result of a lengthy discussion during the March 12 Executive Committee.

GBC Executive Director J. Robert White informed committee members that he had been approached by buyers who were interested in purchasing the 43-acre property and were prepared to make a serious offer. But further investigation of the buyers revealed they were connected with a group that is lobbying to bring casino gambling to the state and possibly saw the site as an attractive location.

In what he called a “family chat” to keep members informed of any overtures he may receive, White said he could not, in good conscience, bring an offer to the Executive Committee that would compromise the moral values of Georgia Baptists for any amount of money.

White said too much prayer had gone into securing the site from multiple owners – across from Gwinnett Center on Sugarloaf Parkway – for it to be transferred from a God-honoring ministry to one that could clearly harbor an ungodly business. The collateral result of selling alcohol, and the unlawful use of drugs and possibly human trafficking would further add insult to injury, he added.

Atlanta is the nation’s center for human trafficking and that element could easily attach itself to such a business, even without consent of the new property owners.


Building attracts interest

A motion to remove the building from real estate listings was withdrawn when members were reminded that the building had never been listed. Nonetheless, realtors are approaching the Executive Office with parties who show an interest in the property.

The site and building – which were a gift from God – were dedicated to His glory and should remain in that vein for as much as possible … especially in a resale, White stated.

White said a concern is that an individual could purchase the property under the guise of using it as an office building or similar venue and then resell it to a casino or related group on short notice. It would be next to impossible to write a sales contract that would prohibit such an end-run around the GBC’s desire.

Executive Committee members voted to request the Administration Committee to prepare the proper wording for any sale that would place the property in the proper hands should the opportunity ever present itself. The Committee will review the new wording at its next meeting on Sept. 10.

In a rare move of venue, that meeting will be held at the Baptist Conference Center at Toccoa in honor of its 50th anniversary.