Amen is final for church

After the final offering, final doxology and final litany of praise, the Rev. Ed Rees came to the part of the service he would have rather skipped.

It was the declaration of dissolution, the words that would officially dissolve the 129-year-old congregation of Greene Street Presbyterian Church, which had dwindled to about a dozen members as people moved to the suburbs.

"In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the authority of Northeast Georgia Presbytery, I declare this building vacated by the members of Greene Street Presbyterian Church, and the congregation now dissolved," said the Rev. Rees, chairman of the commission that will decide the historic building's future.

The Presbytery has offered to lease the property to GAP Ministries for $1 a year until a buyer can be found. GAP, a downtown mission that runs a food pantry and other programs, has not responded.

The Sunday afternoon service quickly turned to reminiscing as former pastors, organists and church members spoke.

The Rev. Robert Hunt, who left in 1991, was called to Greene Street nearly 50 years ago. He remembered former members well, calling many by name.

"There were saints of the Lord who lived and worshipped here," he said. "I see some of you who were the products of those saints."

Mary Ann Howard would count herself as one of them.

"The people in this church nourished us," said Mrs. Howard, a member of the youth group who was baptized and married at Greene Street. "They gave our lives to us. We're different people because of them."

The final benediction was delivered by the Rev. David Hagan, who with the congregation held his hands high to form in sign language "I love you" as the organist played the final hymn, For All the Saints , a funeral song in the Presbyterian hymn book.

Reach Kelly Jasper at (706) 823-3552 or kelly.jasper@augustachronicle.com.