The cornerstone of this idyllic country church near Lake Blackshear notes that it was completed in 1962 at the initiation of Reverend J. B. Josey, who died before construction was completed. Reverend Matthew Brown was pastor when the church was dedicated and deacons were Brother R. M. Mercer, Chairman; Brother Oscar Daniel, Vice Chairman; Brother Willie Hooks, Sexton; Brother George Harris, Treasurer; Brother Brother Ike Holt, Sr.; Brother Joseph Holt; Brother Robert Walker; and Mrs. Jewel Jones, Secretary.
Tag Archives: Churches of Sumter County GA
Friendship was founded by members of Liberty Baptist Church who split with that congregation over doctrine in 1839. The congregation expanded significantly throughout the 1840s and was the spiritual home of many prominent area farmers. It is the oldest surviving church building in Sumter County.
Wiley Carter, the great-great grandfather of President Jimmy Carter, joined with his wife and an enslaved female in 1852. He bought and presumably moved the original church upon the construction of the present structure in 1857. In the five years following the Civil War, many emancipated slaves joined the congregation, but by 1870 had formed their own church, New Bethel.
A historical marker recently placed by Cavalry Episcopal & the Georgia Historical Society gives insight to the story of this beautiful church: Calvary Episcopal Church was organized in 1864 as a second effort to found an Episcopal parish in Americus. The cornerstone for the original wood-framed church was laid here in 1869. The current building was completed in 1921 under the leadership of Rev. James Bolan Lawrence and renowned architect Ralph Adams Cram. Cram is primarily known for his Gothic designs in college campuses and churches nationwide, including the Princeton University Chapel and New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Rev. Lawrence founded churches in Pennington, Vienna, Cordele, and Blakely, and also established congregations in Cuthbert, Dawson, and Benevolence. Rev. Lawrence served the Calvary parish from 1905-1947. Because of his dedication to evangelism and church planting in Southwest Georgia, Rev. Lawrence was recognized as a saint in Georgia by the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia in 1999.
Due to threats from the proposed demolition of the Lee Street Bridge and a new larger bridge project, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation placed this church, as well as other nearby historic properties, on their 2017 Places in Peril list.
Americus Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
Former President Jimmy Carter, who retains strong ties to his small hometown of Plains, teaches Sunday School several months during the year at Maranatha Baptist Church. The public is welcome to attend and people visit from all over the world. President Carter was very gracious and taught a wonderful lesson about powerful women of the Bible. It was an honor to be able to attend and to photograph the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
In addition to his many talents, President Carter is also an accomplished woodworker. The cross seen below was made by Mr. Carter.
Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter posing for photos after church.
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This church was originally located in the nearby village of Pennington and was donated to Andersonville and was moved here and restored by the Andersonville Guild. It was used by the Reverend James Bolan Lawrence and his congregation until his death. It was designed by Ralph Adams Cram, an architect better known for buildings of a much grander scale. His most famous work is the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.