Pastor's home is a refuge to many

The plans had yellowed by the time Bishop Mark and Dorothy Walden were ready to use the blueprints to build their house.

The 12 or so years they waited wasn't because of finances.

It was for a higher cause.

He is the pastor of House of God Church of God in Christ, in Thomson, and the bishop for the second jurisdiction in north Georgia, and he put his home-building money to use to help one of his churches in need.

"We take our calling seriously," Bishop Walden said.

The couple poured their house-building savings into completing the Shalom Temple Church of God in Christ, in Sandersville, Ga., because the bishop felt an obligation to the older members of the congregation who might not have lived to see it built otherwise.

Now, the Waldens, who are the parents of nine and grandparents of 25, have the home they always wanted.

"This is the center of the family," Bishop Walden said. "If she says, 'I'll cook dinner,' that means everybody's coming over."

The house was planned accordingly. The basement is the "hangout" place for the grandkids, with a kitchen for popping popcorn, ample seating and a television set. The main kitchen has two ovens for Mrs. Walden's mass culinary creations.

Their daughter Veronica also lives there with her children, Jasmine, R.J. and Justin, taking three of the six bedrooms.

Their home also has a room dedicated to the Waldens' faith, a prayer room. Besides prayer, the room is used as a sanctuary for counseling, which the couple does frequently.

Reach Sarah Day Owen at (706) 823-3223 or sarah.owen@augustachronicle.com.

AT HOME WITH

WHO: Bishop Mark and Dorothy Walden

THE HOUSE: 9,011 square feet, with six bedrooms, five bathrooms, two half-baths, two offices, a prayer room, a finished basement, two kitchens, family room/den, dining room, living room, sunroom and breakfast nook

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