By Gary Lloyd
It was as if the congregation never moved.
Solid Rock Church held its first services at the former New Covenant Fellowship Church building on Pinson Valley Parkway on Nov. 3. Solid Rock Church had been located in the Old Rock School in Pinson.
The services lured the church’s biggest crowds in the 19 years Larry Ragland has been the pastor at Solid Rock Church. Almost 500 people attended Nov. 3, and nearly 2,000 attended a fall festival in the New Covenant parking lot Oct. 30.
“It was really amazing to us,” Ragland said. “We had a tremendous first day. It just felt like home. It was awesome. People were so excited. It was just really one of the greatest days of our ministry.”
Ragland said past leaders of New Covenant Fellowship Church were honored at the service. There were no feelings of awkwardness, of feeling as if things were out of place, Ragland said.
“It was just incredible,” he said. “It felt like we had been here forever.”
The Old Rock School has been in Pinson seemingly forever, dating back to 1921. The school building was closed in 1998 and was scheduled to be torn down. Pinson residents saved the building from demolition and in 2003 Solid Rock Church leased the property. The church’s first service in the building was Sept. 26, 2004.
The Pinson City Council in September voted on a financing option to purchase the Solid Rock Church building and nearby Triangle Park for $975,000. The city council voted to put down a $75,000 down payment on the property and finance the other $900,000 at 3.3 percent interest over the course of five years and amortized over 20 years. This will put the monthly payments well below $6,000, Mayor Hoyt Sanders said.
The former New Covenant sanctuary and building cover 69,076 square feet on 18.5 acres. Ragland said the building is a perfect fit for Solid Rock Church, as well as a future daycare and private Christian school. The name will remain Solid Rock Church, and Ragland hopes that the nearby softball fields will be ready for playing in the spring.
The church’s address is no longer Pinson, but Birmingham, something Ragland believes that God was calling for, an expansion outside Pinson’s borders, to Tarrant, Gardendale, Center Point and other areas.
“This is just the major next step for our ministry,” he said.
Ragland said the church now has the facility to grow into what it wants to be. Months and months of negotiations, public hearings in Pinson and waiting are over.
“The journey has been long, the moment even sweeter,” Ragland said.
Contact Gary Lloyd at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.