The congregation of one of Gwinnett County’s oldest churches has approved a new pastor.

The Rev. Richard Williams will assume the post in July at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) which began in 1909 as a tent meeting in Lawrenceville.

Its current campus is 3495 Sugarloaf Parkway where it hosts several community and religious groups.

Williams is a current graduate of Candler School of Theology at Emory University with a Master of Divinity degree. He also holds a masters in theology from St. John’s University in New York and an undergraduate in theology and religious studies from St. John’s. He is a fourth generation Disciples of Christ minister. Williams is also a part-time member of the Georgia regional staff as director of new church development. He will continue in that role.

 Williams is leaving the post of associate minister at Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, GA.

“He comes to us with a passion for evangelism and making the community aware of who we are. He has had great success with small group empowerment and growth at Ray of Hope, said Jimmy Peeples, Lawrenceville First Christian Church board chair.

Williams said, “Lawrenceville has great potential for church growth.”

Williams and his wife, Rose, and their three sons – Michael, Gabriel, and Malachi – will be moving to the Lawrenceville area this summer. The couple said they were drawn to the Gwinnett location because of the excellent schools.

Williams will work through July with the interim minister the Rev. Melinda W. McDonald, who served the church a year and a half.

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination of about 800,000 members in the United States and Canada. It is one of the largest faith groups founded on American soil.

To contact the church call (770) 963-9922 or go to the website at www.lawrencevillefirstchristian.org for more information. The church also is on Facebook at  www.facebook.com/LawrencevilleFirstChristian

Williams was selected after more than 40 candidates were examined as part of the regional search and call process that included membership surveys and assessment of community needs. He was unanimously approved by the congregation after delivering a sermon on June 9, Pentecost Sunday

He is scheduled to preach July 7.