On the hunt for all the Historic Rural Churches of Georgia
A while back, a friend and fellow camera club member mentioned that she was photographing historic rural churches of Georgia. This got me on the hunt to find some too. With COVID-19, we are still social distancing, so I have been doing a lot of exploring close to home in Georgia this year. I thought searching for all the historic rural churches would be right up my alley.
There is a great website that lists the rural churches around Georgia www.hrcga.org. First, I set out to find something that was relatively close to home. I wanted to be able to make a few hour trip one day after work.
Young’s Chapel Methodist
The first church I set out to see was Young’s Chapel Methodist. It is located in Ben Hill County just outside of Rebecca, Georgia. The drive from Perry to the church was a peaceful drive and there were beautiful barns and historic homes all along the way, not to mention fields of Georgia snow (i.e. Cotton). You do have to drive on a dirt road for about 1.3 miles off the paved road.
I wasn’t sure where the church was situated and where the sun would be at sunset, but my goal was to make it in time to see the sunset. The church sits with the back to the west, so the sun set right behind it over the vast expanse of fields.
Young’s Chapel Methodist was built around 1875, renovated in 1971 and then closed its door in 1974. The members of the congregation had dwindled down to 8 people by then. The shift in industry led people out of the area, and there just wasn’t enough people in the community to warrant the church to stay operational.
Natural Disaster hits
There was a group of locals that had a plan to restore the church, but in 2017, a tornado hit the church and damaged the back wall. Once the tornado hit, all hope was lost on the restoration project. The damage the church sustained was too much to repair. Luckily, a local had removed the pews out of the church sometime before the tornado to ensure they would not be damaged by vandals.
When I read the story about this church, I knew that this church might not be there when I got there, but I was hoping I would see some of it. I was not sure if any of the structure was standing. There is no telling how much longer anyone will be able to bask in the beauty of this rural historic church.
Young’s Chapel Methodist had its doors opened for almost 100 years, so just imagine the stories of revivals, baptisms, prayers and worship that took place there. A cemetery is located behind the church in which some of the Young family was laid to rest.
There is a piano inside, that was the most beautiful piano I’ve ever saw. Most people would like to see a shiny grand piano, but I on the other hand like to see things that were used for many years. I love to imagine all the memories made here.
This church, sadly, could collapse at any time. I am so glad, I got to see it and photograph it. I hope that these photographs will be enjoyed as much as I enjoyed taking them. The sun setting behind the church over the cotton fields was just stunning.
Take advantage of the time we have
I have learned throughout the years to take advantage of seeing everything when you get the opportunity because you never know when could be the last time you can visit. People ruin these beautiful places, natural disasters take place, and other events happen that take away the privilege to get to see them.
Leave no trace
When you visit these historic rural churches leave no trace. Take out what you take in and most importantly be respectful of the church and the people who have memories there.
Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generationRobert Kennedy
Check out the smallest church in America from our Coastal Georgia Road trip!
On to the next church.