Covenant UMC Breaks Ground on New Home!

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For decades, the late Elijah F. Moore Jr. played a vital role in growing the Georgia United Methodist Foundation’s ministry by serving as executive director and chair of the board, loan, and investment committees. Little did he know that his work with GUMF in the formative years would one day benefit some of the churches that his son, the Rev. David Moore, would serve.

Moore has partnered with GUMF twice on construction loans, first on behalf of Midway UMC in Auburn and most recently while serving as pastor of Covenant UMC in Smyrna.

In 2015, Cumberland UMC and Faith UMC merged congregations and took the name “Covenant” to express their commitment to each other and gratitude for God’s grace. When Moore was appointed pastor in 2016, he knew the church would need to relocate to a new location as mandated by the merger agreement.

The Cumberland property was the first to sell, and the proceeds were deposited into a building fund started by Moore. The newly merged congregation met at Faith UMC until the property’s sale earlier this summer. Covenant UMC currently holds worship services in Smyrna First Baptist Church’s chapel until their new 18,000-square-foot church home, located on Atlanta Road one mile south of the Smyrna Market Village, is complete.

Moore explains why he’s such a strong advocate for borrowing from GUMF.

“We did not consider another lender because I had personally worked with GUMF in the past. GUMF knows and understands how to work with churches and wants the churches to succeed!” Moore said. “The application process is so much easier than borrowing from a bank. Jim Pope (GUMF director of lending) and Lori Tucker (GUMF loan administrator) were responsive, friendly, and knowledgeable. I am convinced we are getting as good, if not better, rates.”

Although Covenant UMC’s closing with GUMF took place in May 2021, the church plans to use its money from the sale of the two properties and the building fund first before drawing on the construction loan, possibly in four to six months.

While Covenant UMC’s location is changing, its mission remains the same. “We want to serve our community in such a way that people experience the love of Jesus and come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord,” Moore said. “We’re big enough to have programs for all ages from children to senior adults yet small enough where the pastor knows everybody’s name!

Over the past five years, we have become more intentional about being involved in our community. We adopted a mile on Atlanta Road for litter pickup. We participate in a Habitat build every year. We serve meals at The Extension, a residential program for those recovering from addictions. We make significant contributions of money and food to MUST Ministries. We are in touch with two schools to provide whatever we can that the counselors say are needed–whether it’s Christmas gifts or items to meet students’ special health needs. We host movies and other events for the community. We have added both a children’s director and a youth director to our staff. And our worship services are considerably more contemporary than five years ago.”

Although the pandemic slowed down Covenant UMC’s building plans, Moore said it gave the congregation extra time to reimagine.

“We want our building to be a community outreach center with open doors–not a place where we go inside to do whatever–but a place where we plan and visualize how we will go out,” Moore shared. “We want our building to be available to groups in the community. We want to have activities outside like worship services, movies, and meals where people see us. We also want to serve passersby intentionally–maybe by offering free coffee or water to walkers and runners.”

If your church needs GUMF’s help with a loan, please contact Jim Pope, director of lending, at 770-841-5163 or jpope@gumf.org or Lori Tucker, loan administrator, at 770-449-6726, 877-220-5664, or ltucker@gumf.org for a free consultation.