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Neighbors Say Fayetteville Church Too Big

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FAYETTEVILLE — The phrase "not in my backyard" is not usually applied to churches, but neighbors are praying a Fayetteville church will stop expanding.

Neighbors say Snyder Baptist Church is too big, and that it has its eye on further expansion.

For many years, the church and its neighbors lived together amicably. But now the church has 2000 members, and it is the largest church in Fayetteville.

A $5 million building fund is earmarked for a new fellowship hall.

Mike Barco, a nearby resident, isn't happy.

Barco says the church is gradually destroying one of the city's oldest neighborhoods.

"It's not a neighborhood," Barco said. "It's becoming a church."

Barco and other residents say the church makes a practice of buying homes up and down the block, then not maintaining them, and finally bulldozing the dilapidated dwellings to make a parking lot.

Pastor David Crocker says the church will construct a building that will fit in with the neighborhood, and that his congregation is working with neighbors.

Crocker said the intention is to be the best neighbor possible, and to "allay fears."

Barco maintains that the church is also the wealthiest in Fayetteville.

"We can hold our breath and fight it, but nobody listens. They will get their way. They always have," Barco says.