Baptist church moving to downtown Queen City landmark
Gospel Baptist Church has purchased the former Franco American Centre property at 52 Concord St., Manchester. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
"We're tapped out of space," said Carlson, whose church at Beech and Merrimack streets counts 165 members. The church occupies the entire wood-framed, two-story building, which resembles the adjacent tenement buildings.
Although the new location will be a few blocks away, the move takes the independent Baptist church out of the center city. Carlson, a native of the Michigan upper peninsula, said he and his wife started the church in a small, 850-square foot building at Hall and Spruce streets in 1992.
It produces a television show, and members knock on doors of strangers to increase the flock.
Carlson said his church put about $50,000 into a building fund in each of the last few years, and when the ACA deal was possible, church leaders launched a six-week fundraising effort that raised $51,000.
Carlson said his church is patriotic; an American flag flies out front, and he's also flown a Marine flag to honor a member who joined the Marines. The church eschews the drums, electric guitars and rock-concert atmosphere of megachurches.
The new location has been a clubhouse, a church, and office building, a Franco-American heritage center and, most recently, a student center for the New Hampshire Institute of Art. Carlson said he has no plans to remove the names and emblems associated with the ACA.
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