Greenforest Baptist celebrating diamond anniversary Aug. 11-12

Greenforest Community Baptist Church's 60th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee Celebration includes a mission project helping seniors, guest speakers, and a reception and memorabilia museum taking place Aug. 11 and 12.

The celebration’s theme is “Great Is My Faithfulness” from Lamentations 3:23.

Helping Our Seniors takes place 8 a.m. to noon on Aug. 11.

On Aug. 12, the Rev. Jason Mason, pastor of Providence Community Baptist Church, will preach at the 7:45 a.m. service, and the Rev. Tyrone Barnette, pastor of  Peace Baptist Church, will speak at 10:45 a.m.

A Diamond Jubilee Reception & Memorabilia Museum follows the 10:45 service.

Greenforest Baptist is led by senior pastor Dr. Emory Berry Jr. The Decatur church, which was incorporated on June 5, 1959, was founded in 1958 with 135 charter members who met at Wadsworth Elementary School on Greenforest Drive in Decatur.

In 1977, as the demographics of South DeKalb changed from white to black, nearly all of the white church members, including the pastor, left the church in what became known as “The Exodus Experience.”

The remaining members operated as a mission congregation for about 18 months under the guidance of the Atlanta Baptist Association and the leadership of the Rev. John H. Cross, former pastor of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.  In 1979, the Rev. Dr. George O. McCalep Jr. became pastor of 25-member congregation, which affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

In 1989, the church relocated to its current home, the 16-acre former Mt. Carmel Christian Church facility on Rainbow Drive.

It subsequently bought an additional 78 acres and over McCalep’s 27 years of visionary leadership, the church experienced expansion and growth in population, facilities, ministries. It opened a child care academy and private school, created a community development corporation that purchased an apartment building and worked to expand affordable home opportunity in the county, among others.

McCalep died Dec. 23, 2006.

The Rev. Dennis Mitchell succeeded him in 2007. Berry became pastor in August 2016.

The church is at 3250 Rainbow Drive. For more information, visit www.greenforest.org or call 404-486-1120.