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Surprise gift helps church with expansion
Cumming Baptist acquires 5.5 acres
Church WEB 1
Barry Crocker, pastor of Cumming Baptist, points to property recently purchased to help with growth at the church. - photo by Autumn Vetter

A local church has added more space thanks to a generous member.

Cumming Baptist, located in downtown, recently closed on the purchase of nearly 6 acres adjacent to its home.

Pastor Barry Crocker said the land, which is between Dahlonega Highway and Tribble Gap Road, is mostly wooded but does have one unoccupied house.

“It’s five and a half acres, so it more than doubled our property,” Crocker said. “If we didn’t get it, obviously we’re landlocked. So we needed more property and it was available.”

He said the church was able to pay cash for the property, thanks to one of its members.

“We’ve been working on the deal for more than a year with [the former owners], going back and forth, back and forth,” he said. “They had started at $1.3 million and there was no way we were going to be able to pay that for it, so we … eventually got them down to $409,500.”

Crocker said one Sunday morning he asked the congregation of about 600 members how much each of them might be able to contribute toward the purchase over the course of a year so the church would not have to borrow any money.

“So after I made that announcement, we were going around just doing the welcome and shaking hands when someone put a piece of paper in my hand,” he said. “I just stuck it in my pocket and opened it up later. It said, ‘We’re ready to write a check for $400,000 today.’

“So that was pretty awesome. The really amazing thing was they had already decided they wanted to give this money, they just weren’t sure where they were going to give it.

“When I made that announcement that morning, they said, ‘Well, that’s where we’re supposed to give it.’”

Crocker said while there are no definite plans for the land yet, it will likely be used for some additional parking since the church currently has to borrow some spaces from neighboring businesses.

Some athletic fields for the church’s youth are also a probability.

“We just brought on a children’s pastor a few months ago, so that’s one of the things we’re hoping to expand,” Crocker said.

He noted that the church likely will add some activities such as baseball and soccer through Upwards, a church youth sports league.

“So we hope to maybe create some fields down there,” he said.