LAWRENCEVILLE - Hog Mountain Baptist Church members have five choices for a new congregation name, their pastor said Tuesday.
Rev. Barney Williams said he expects about 40 of the congregation's 75 members to vote on a new name for the 152-year-old church Dec. 10. After the vote is taken, the new name will take effect immediately.
Williams, who has been the church's pastor for 10 years after a previous stint in the 1960s, said his two favorite options are Oak View Baptist Church and Fort Daniel Baptist Church. The other choices members will vote on are Hamilton Mill Baptist Church, Mill Creek Baptist Church and Oak Hill Baptist Church.
Discussions to change the name have been in progress for five years, Williams said, despite some members' surprise over the decision.
"People want to change it," he said. "We discussed it a long time before the decision to put it before the church."
The pastor said he often gets teased about the church's name at meetings, with other leaders calling him "Sooey Barney" when he announces the name of the church. Williams also said some people resent the name Hog Mountain because pigs are considered dirty in the Bible.
"There's no business named Hog Mountain. I think it's best to change it," he said. "Hogs in the Bible are associated with sin."
Members voted 21-7 to change the church's name at a Sunday meeting Nov. 19, with Williams moderating the vote. Ballots were available last Sunday and will be at the church again this Sunday, and must be marked and signed by Dec. 10.
Church member Claudette Miller, an on-again, off-again member for 37 years, said she voted against changing the church's name. Williams said keeping Hog Mountain in the name will not be an option.
He said the street the church sits on will keep its name, Hog Mountain Church Road, but bristled at the thought that residents who are not church members would be upset about the church's decision.
"If people don't belong to the church, it ain't nobody's business how the church voted," he said. "If it's a road, everybody's got a right to that. ... If they pay taxes on it, everybody can vote for that."