Church Wins Approval To Hold Community Marketplace

A Smithfield church has received permission from town leaders to hold a Community Marketplace next year as an outreach of their church and congregation.

Grace Community Assembly of God, located at 923 E. Booker Dairy Road next to Neuse Charter School, will hold the Community Marketplace two Saturday’s a month from 9:00am until 1:00pm beginning in May 2019 and ending in October 2019.

Church members and church groups will use 10 to 20 booth spaces in the parking lot to sell crafts, hobby items, clothing, toys, furniture, household goods, and locally-grown garden produce.

Councilman Emery Ashley said the idea and concept was wonderful. He said the outreach effort would attract people to the church.

Councilman David Barbour had numerous questions for Mark Stout, a church representative, who was present at the Sept. 4th meeting. Barbour questioned Stout on who would determine who gets the spaces. He also expressed concern the Community Market might turn into a flea market. There were also concerns expressed about traffic.

Ashley responded to some of Barbour’s questions by stating that the Town already allows restaurants to sell alcohol and what is the harm in allowing a church to have a marketplace twice a month for 6 months.

Barbour said if the council approved the marketplace for one church he didn’t see how the board could deny it for another church. “What we do for one we have to do for everybody.”

Councilman David Stevens said the permit is only temporary for one year and thought the outreach efforts by the church was acceptable.

With assurances from Mr. Stout the church event would not cause any problems, the board voted unanimously to approve the request.