New Harmony in Cedartown members never stopped giving to retire bank note

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Starting at left, New Harmony Baptist treasurer Rick Duvall, holding microphone, stands with former pastor DeWayne New, white shirt; Ken Rowell, building committee member; Runette Smith, committee member; and Freddie Giles, committee member, as the church prepares to burn its bank note. Also in the picture are deacon Bobby Arrington, seated, and Doug Elkins, deacon and committee member, standing behind New. New had served as the church’s pastor for more than 27 years, through the end of 2016. Not pictured are committee members Mark Addison and Johnny Leefevers. Sammy Stephens currently serves as interim pastor at New Harmony. NHBC/Special

CEDARTOWN — On Feb. 26 New Harmony Baptist Church celebrated the retirement of a 22-year-old building fund. At the end of the day-long celebration, attendees witnessed the official note-burning ceremony.  

“There are so many people involved in this process who are still with us. Some have already gone home to be with the Lord,” said Sammy Stephens, interim pastor reflecting on the congregation’s sentiment on the journey’s conclusion. “I will just quote what is written above our entryway: ‘To God Be the Glory.’ We are a blessed people.” 

Under Pastor DeWayne New, the fund began in 1995. Then, the church made plans for a new sanctuary, nursery, education space, and addition to the fellowship hall. However, a good problem developed as funds started to grow. Those gifts provided the opportunity for other projects to be completed in anticipation of the building plans.  

Committee members and deacon Doug Elkins, at left, burns the note alongside fellow committee member Ken Rowell. NHBC/Special

Continued giving

During the late 1990s, reported Stephens, $95,000 went toward renovating a future parking lot due to the incoming sanctuary and fellowship hall claiming current (at that time) parking space. In 2009, $25,212 provided a new youth area from closing in the church’s former pavilion. 

Through it all giving never wavered, Stephens said, with construction on the sanctuary and fellowship hall beginning June 10, 2009. By the time it was finished, the final cost for the construction, landscaping permits, pews, sound system, and engineering totaled $1,771,891.07. With the additional giving from its people the years before, the church had collected nearly $1.2 million toward the project. A mortgage taken out in October 2011 finished off the construction payment, with additional giving from the congregation and sale of the pastorium ultimately making New Harmony debt-free this January.  

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