Big Creek Missionary Baptist Church, Irwin County

historic big creek missionary baptist church irwin county ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2009

Big Creek is one of the most historic and well-loved congregations in Irwin County. Many members have shared memories over the years.

historic big creek baptist church pastor reuben j eldgridge memorial photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2009

In almost every story about Big Creek is an appreciation for its long-serving pastor, Reuben J. Eldridge. A memorial in front of the church notes the years of his pastorate (September 1937-August 1980).  His grandson, David Martin, writes: “Pap” Eldridge was my granddaddy and he pastored at Big Creek for 40 years…literally until the day he died. He and Granny Eldridge lived next to me and I remember him teaching other young preachers about the Bible in his home. The pastor of Big Creek, now, was one of those young men. Brother Reuben, as some called him, was one of the most gracious men to ever set foot in a pulpit. He could preach hard, but he could also love gently.

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13 Comments

Filed under --IRWIN COUNTY GA--

13 responses to “Big Creek Missionary Baptist Church, Irwin County

  1. Bill Cleghorn

    Nice to see this pop up here… Have a large number of family members buried here and am so pleased to stop by often and see that the cemetery is so well maintained… Thank you for calling attention to this lovely lil church and thank you for making my visits serene and peaceful…..

  2. Doug Tatum

    Big Creek is my home church. Played baby Jesus there Dec 67 days after I was born. My first Bible was given to me by the Young Adult Sunday School Class on Dec 29 1967. And got another Bible from Rev Reeves and his wife when I graduated high school. Still the friendliest church I have ever attended.

  3. Ann Macdonald

    I was raised in Big Creek Church with Pastor Rueben Eldridge. Was baptized there. My father Robert Bowen was a member there for around 80 years intil his death last year at age 96. Such a wonderful church and such caring people. Was just there for a visit last month.

  4. Betty Goins

    I remember well in the early 60’s going to Big Creek. My dad, J.D. Murray, was pastor at Pinetta and on 5th Sundays we would visit other churches in the community, one of them being Big Creek. In 1965 after graduating from high school, I got married at Pinetta and Preacher Eldridge performed the ceremony. I loved the whole family and still from time to time see some of them in Tifton where I live.

  5. Pingback: Big Creek Missionary Baptist Church, Irwin County | Vanishing South Georgia Photographs by Brian Brown

  6. Ann Payne

    I went to Big Creek as a child and when older. Preacher Eldridge was there all the years I went. Was baptised there along with my brother. My grandparents went there and are buried there along with a whole lot of my relative, Uncles, Aunts, Cousins. Smith, McCook, Hall. Was there last in July 2012 for my Aunt Mylissa Smith Hall funeral. The last of my mothrers family. Saw so many cousins and friends I grew up with in Fitzgerald (during the years my Dad was in Army, we lived in Fitzgerald at Sallie and Charlie Smith, grand parents) Had not seen them in so many years. Was like a homecoming of sorts. Always remember preacher Eldridge and the homecomings. Loved him and them.

    • Thanks for sharing these memories, Ann. I know Preacher Eldridge was well-loved at Big Creek. And I also knew your Aunt Mylissa. She was such a sweet lady, and I’m sorry she’s gone.

  7. David Martin

    “Pap” Eldridge was my grand-daddy and he pastored at Big Creek for 40 years…literally until the day he died. He and Granny Eldridge lived next to me and I remember him teaching other young preachers about the Bible in his home. The pastor of Big Creek, now, was one of those young men. Brother Reuben, as some called him, was one of the most gracious men to ever set foot in a pulpit. He could preach hard, but he could also love gently. I live about two miles from the church, now. Thanks for the blog, great job.

    • Diane McSwain Elliott

      I remember Rev. Eldridge from my childhood, mostly from when we attended family funerals at Big Creek. We no longer lived near there, but anytime a McSwain passed on, Big Creek church was the place to be. I recall his warm smile and how much my mother (whose father was also a preacher) thought of him. There are many of my family buried there and this will always be a place close to my heart.

      Diane McSwain Elliott

      • Bren

        Are you related to the Mattie Moore McSwain? Her brother was my grandfather and I think I may have attended this church with my dad. If so, we would have been visiting with the Jessie McSwain family…I think

  8. Anne Blackstock Vought

    Reuben Eldridge was my uncle and my childhood visits to Big Creek are some of my happiest memories. I remember the singing, the preaching, and having Aunt Jimmie make quilt pallets on the floor at the rear of the pews for my cousins and my siblings and me to “sleep” when we were at church in the evening.

  9. I remember going to church here with Mama and my sisters & brothers and Granny and Papa when I was little…Papa always sat on the front pew with his eyes shut…Granny says he heard everything the preacher said…it was Ruben Eldridge when I went there back in the 60’s. Now that man could preach a Sunday sermon…I was only 10 years old when we moved from there and I still remember listening to him preach. Last time I was there was for Granny’s funeral in August 1997.

  10. dot

    Pretty church and the sky is gorgeous! One could do a blog just on churches.

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