Local News Archive
Print Issue: January 4, 1968
St. Thomas The Apostle: A Parish On The Go
A public high school. A theater in a shopping center. An Episcopal Church. A Methodist Church. A Baptist Church.
These all have been used by St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Smyrna to hold Masses and other parish activities since the parish was formed last summer.
In addition, Father Richard B. Morrow, pastor, lives on the west side of the city, and the three Sisters of the Holy Humility of Mary -- Sister Damian, Sister Mary Rita and Sister Elizabeth -- reside east of the city near the Atlanta city limits.
However, all of this ecumenism will end in a few months when the new parish center will be completed. Construction is now under way on property acquired last fall by St. Thomas Church on King Springs Road Drive between Reed Drive and Cooper Lake Road, on the southwest side of Smyrna.
Father Morrow says he and all the parishioners are anxiously awaiting the day when they can move into their own home.
The building -- the first of a four-building complex to be built by Smyrnas only Catholic parish -- will be used for all of the parish activities. This will include Masses during weekdays, Holy days, and Sundays, the weekday School of Religion CCD, adult instruction classes, social events, scouting programs, and athletic activities.
Later plans call for building a church, a rectory, and a convent.
The parish center is a split level of Dutch Colonial architecture. It will have a weathered granite exterior. Architect for the new facility is Albert O. Ordway and contractor is Carter Construction Co. Grading work was done by Reed Contracting Company. Landscaping and grass planting was done by men of the parish.
The lower level of the new parish center, which includes a full-size basketball court, will be used as a temporary church and for holding various social activities. One end will be sectioned off as a chapel with an altar and permanent pews that will seat 80 people. The chapel will be used primarily for daily Masses and weddings.
The lower level will also contain a kitchen and two dining rooms, a full stage, athletic dressing rooms, storage rooms, and two large athletic offices, one of which will be used temporarily as a family room for church goers.
The upper level of the new structure will contain several classrooms, teachers lounges, a principals office, and two large storage rooms which later can be converted into balconies overlooking the basketball court.
The St. Thomas parish building committee expects the parish center to be completed by early spring.
Until then, Sunday Masses will continue to be held at 8, 10, and 11:30 a.m. in the Belmont Hills Theater, and at 6 p.m. in St. Judes Episcopal Church. Daily Masses are held at the rectory at the corner of Stalcup Drive and Olive Springs Road and the convent at 4270 Paces Ferry Road.
Masses on Holy Days are held at the First Methodist Church in Smyrna. School of Religion classes are held in the education building of the First Methodist Church -- elementary children on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings and high school children on Tuesday evenings.
A Cub Scout Pack was formed recently, and it holds its meetings at the Legend Heights Baptist Church recreation building. A Boy Scout Troop is being formed and is scheduled to hold its meetings in facilities of First United Methodist Church.
And, Father Morrow said he shares more than the buildings with the Methodists and Episcopalians.
At the Episcopal Church, I use their altar, vestments, baptismal font and collection plates. I have to use my portable altar at the Methodist Church because their altar faces the wall.
The pastor said his parishioners also use the Episcopal and Methodist song books at the churches.
He pointed out that members of his parish are involved in a non-denominational Bible school in a depressed area. They also collect clothes for the Calvary Baptists Childrens
One of our Sisters attends meetings of Church Women United and I am secretary-treasurer of the Smyrna Ministerial Association. We think this is our response to the generosity of those who let us use their facilities.