Note: This story appears in the Wednesday, June 5 newspaper on Page A3.

An Athens-area church has purchased 24.5 acres to construct a new church building.

Lifepoint Pentecostals of Athens bought land on South Blackburn Road and Budget Host Drive for $93,000, according to Courthouse records.

“We’re already at capacity in our church where we are now,” explained Pastor Barry Blankenship. The current church is at Route 50W and Rolling Hills Drive, which is just up the highway from the new site that has been purchased.

Blankenship said the congregation has grown in just over 2 1/2 years from about 45 worshipers to having between 130 to 150 attend Sunday services. Participation in Bible study also has grown, he said.

The pastor said the Pentecostal church has been in Athens for 104 years, and at its current location since the 1960s.

One event held by the church is a community Easter egg hunt. Blankenship said it was moved to the fairgrounds this year because about 1,200 people showed up at the church for the event last year. He said nearly 2,500 people attended at the fairgrounds.

The pastor said it’s hoped that construction of the new church building can begin next year. He said the goal is to have room to grow further, and tentative plans call for about doubling the seating capacity.

“Right now we’re focusing on getting the land paid off,” Blankenship said, explaining it will be accomplished through a stewardship campaign involving special offerings from the congregation.

Funding of construction will likely come through a loan from United Pentecostal Church International, he said.; Twitter @SteveRmessenger

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