On the second Sunday of September 1996, Christ the King Church held public worship services for the first time in a funeral home chapel in Peachtree City, GA. On Sunday, September 12, 2021, the church, now the Cathedral of Christ the King, will observe its 25th anniversary on its 11.5-acre campus on Highway 34 between Peachtree City and Newnan.
A handful of people began meeting in a home in Sharpsburg for a few weeks prior to holding Sunday services and spent over six years in the chapel of Carmichael-Hemperley Funeral Home.
“A lot of people were hesitant about visiting a church in a funeral home, but when a visitor walked through the door, we knew one thing — they were certainly interested,” pastor David Epps remarked.
The church began with two priests, David Epps who served as the rector and Mark Johnson, who was the associate rector before he served his own church in Wilmington, NC for 17 years.
In 1997, three men were ordained to the diaconate by Bishop John Holloway: Paul Massey, David Jones, and Waymon Ahart. In 1997, the three would be ordained as priests, the first of many who would follow that same pathway.
The church was to be a “convergence church,” that is, a church that would present both the Word and the Sacraments, would be evangelical, and would embrace the charismatic gifts.
The first worship leader was David Jones, who wrote nearly all the songs that were sung during the first decade of the church, and a number of those continue to be sung. Two worship albums were produced.
The new congregation would sponsor or support several mission trips to Ireland, the Philippines, Kenya, and Uganda and would help plant three other congregations in the United States.
In the late 1990s, the church purchased the current property and, in 2002, completed construction on the sanctuary and moved out of the funeral home.
Shortly thereafter, a Parish Life Center was built that housed a fellowship hall, five classrooms, rest rooms, and an industrial kitchen. The original house on the property is the site of teaching ministries, the youth ministry, young adult ministry, and administrative functions.
The church has engaged the community by offering its facilities to a number of non-profit groups — including the Girl Scouts, the Marine Corps League, Healing for Heroes, Toys for Tots, Williams Syndrome Association — and has been open to certain public school groups such as the East Coweta High School swim team.
Two churches, Christ Presbyterian Church and Overcome Church, have used the church facilities on Sundays for worship at no charge except for utilities. During the first coronavirus surge, a couple in the church prepared 167 meals for those of the church who were sheltering at home.
The church has a number of ministries including Sunday School, youth ministries, children’s ministries, a young adult ministry, men’s and women’s fellowships. Home Bible studies, book studies, a motorcycle ministry, cancer care ministry, audio and video ministry, music and worship ministry, Gianna’s Kitchen (food ministry), and more.
In addition, the congregation gives more than 10% of its income to national and global missions causes. The church has conducted over 200 baptisms in its history.
In 2007, the function and responsibilities of the church were greatly expanded when David Epps was elected to be the bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-South and Christ the King was designated as a cathedral. This designation gave the church a much more active role in diocesan, archdiocesan, and national matters.
“New church plants are very fragile,” Epps said. “80% of new churches do not survive their first five years while 90% never see their tenth anniversary. To reach the 25th anniversary is a significant milestone, and we are grateful to God and to all the people presently and through the years who contributed time, talent, and treasure to this congregation.”
Although a more extensive celebration was planned, the recent resurgence of Covid-19 has resulted in a much-scaled back observation. There will be in-person worship and the service will be livestreamed at 10:00 a.m. at www.ctk.life.
— Photos and news release submitted by David Epps