Waiting 'with open arms'
Congregation breaks ground on newest church

LAWRENCEVILLE - For a congregation with an aim of living passion through action, the groundbreaking for a brand new campus in Lawrenceville marks the realization of a great endeavor.

The groundbreaking of The Good Samaritan Haitian Alliance Church's (GSHAC) new facility Aug. 15 solidified the union of one church situated in two locales.

GSHAC, a congregation of 550 members strong, is currently operating out of Meadowcreek High School in Norcross, but construction should be completed in January on a multi-million dollar campus designed by Engineer Watson Escarment and located at 711 Davis Road in Lawrenceville.

Even though the groundbreaking ceremony marked the beginning of construction, the church still conducted tours of the church along with offering Haitian cuisine, fellowship with the entire community and declaration of the mission and vision of the church. The six-hour event's theme was "The Promised Land of the Good Samaritan" and drew a sizable crowd from the community.

Senior Pastor Rev. Brave L. Laverdure founded the GSHAC in 1994 in an apartment complex in Roswell. Laverdure emigrated from Haiti in 1991 to pursue Biblical studies for the ministry. His family, including son Eunos, two daughters and wife, joined him in 1993. When Laverdure completed his studies in 1994, the family moved to Atlanta, where Laverdure connected with a small number of local Haitian families. The group, finding commonalities in worship and history, became an established church in Roswell, where they resided for nearly a year.

Upon leaving Roswell, the burgeoning congregation found a larger worship space in a church in Chamblee.

"After the huge real estate blow-up in Gwinnett County, many of our members ended up moving to Gwinnett while the church was still in Dekalb," said Eunos Laverdure. "Our senior pastor, my father, found it to be in the best interest of the church body to worship where most of the people are."

"We established a daughter church in Lawrenceville that came out of the church in Chamblee," he continued. "We were always the same church worshipping in two different places."

In May 2007, the mother and daughter churches reunited at Meadowcreek High School, where it has operated as one church for over two years.

The church vows "to live our passion in action," spreading the word to those in need.

Pastor Laverdure's greatest passion is deeply invested in mission work, already begun in Haiti and Ecuador. In Lawrenceville, the congregation continues its long-standing tradition of fellowship and service to the community with its children's ministry, housed within its own wing. In the future, Eunos hopes the wing will serve as a community day-care service.

The congregation, with mission work at its heart, was founded by Pastor Laverdure, himself a Haitian pastor, and is predominately Haitian. Eunos, however, is eager to encourage individuals from all backgrounds to attend.

"His (Pastor Laverdure) heart is connected to the whole community," Eunos said. "We have a people with hearts (that) live for Christ and for all people through our actions."

"We, with open arms and open doors, are waiting for everyone."