HISTORY OF BLUFFTON BAPTIST CHURCH 1846 - 1981

    A FEW LOG HOMES WAS IN THE SETTLEMENT OF BLUFFTON IN 1846 AND
THESE EARLY SETTLERS BUILT THIS CHURCH HOUSE NEAR THE "SPRINGS". THIS
BUILDING WAS USED AS A PLACE OF WORSHIP BY BAPTIST, METHODIST AND
PRESBYTERIANS. WHENEVER A PREACHER OR CIRCUIT RIDER CAME THROUGH THEY
HAD A MEETING AND ALL WORSHIPED TOGETHER.

    SOME OF THE EARLIER SETTLERS WERE ZACHARIA COWART; COL. T. F.
JONES; DR. C. B. HOLMES; BUTLER BRYAN; RICHARD BLOCKER.

    IN 1869 THE BLUFFTON LAND COMPANY WAS FORMED; STREETS AND LOTS
WERE LAID OFF AND SOLD. THE LAND KNOWN AS BLUFFTON PUBLIC LAND WAS
GIVEN TO THE VILLAGE BY W. H. DAVIS WHO HAD PURCHASED IT FROM RICHARD
BLOCKER. THIS LAND INCLUDED THIS CHURCH, THE METHODIST CHURCH, THE
ACADEMY (COMMUNITY HOUSE), THE COURT HOUSE THE JAIL AND THE -BLUFF'.

    ABOUT 1869 THE METHODIST BUILT THEIR OWN CHURCH. THE BAPTIST
REMODELED THIS CHURCH, ADDING THE STEEPLE BELFRY AND VESTIBULE. THEY
ALSO PAINTED THE CHURCH. PERSONS WHO ASSISTED IN THE REMODELING, WERE
COL. T. F. JONES, DR. C. B. HOLMES, W. P, MCARTHUR, WILLIAM GRACE, G. W.
COLLINS AND AUGUSTUS "BUDDY GUS" INGRAM.

    IN 1839 THE NAME OF THOMAS MUSE WAS FIRST RECORDED IN THE
MINUTES OF THE BETHEL BAPTIST ASSOCIATION AS A DELEGATE FROM THE
MACEDONIA CHURCH IN EARLY COUNTY. IN 1840 "UNCLE TOMMY" MUSE WAS
ORDAINED BY THE REHOBOTH CHURCH IN RANDOLPH COUNTY AND SERVED AS
PASTOR THERE FROM 1840 to 1844. UNCLE TOMMY MUSE WAS ONE OF THE
PREACHERS THAT CAME TO BLUFFTON IN 1846 AND PROBABLY FOR SEVERAL YEARS
THEREAFTER. RECORDS INDICATE HE ALSO SERVED THE BLUFFTON BAPTIST
CHURCH IN 1885 - 1886.

    WE DO NOT HAVE AN ACCURATE RECORD OF OUR PAST PASTORS BUT WE
DO KNOW BROTHER J. S. PARKER SERVED AS PASTOR AND ASSISTED IN THE
ORGANIZATION OF THIS CHURCH. HE SERVED FROM 1869 - 1875. W. W. GRACE
WAS THE FIRST CLERK; DR. C. B. HOLMES ORGANIZED THE FIRST SUNDAY SCHOOL
AND SERVED AS SUPERINTENDENT UNTIL HIS DEATH.

    DR. HOLMES AND W. P. MCARTHUR WERE THE FIRST DELEGATES TO THE
BETHEL BAPTIST ASSOCIATION. THE CHURCH HAD 21 MEMBERS IN THE FIRST YEAR,
SIX PEOPLE WERE BAPTIZED AND EIGHT JOINED BY LETTER.

    MR. GRIER MANSFIELD HAD SOME HISTORY OF THE BLUFFTON SUNDAY
SCHOOL AND HE WROTE DOWN CERTAIN BITS OF INFORMATION. HE STATED THAT
MRS. WOOD SAYS THE CHURCH HAD A CHRISTMAS TREE IN 1872. IT IS OUR CUSTOM
EVEN TODAY TO HAVE A COMMUNITY CHRISTMAS TREE. ONE YEAR AT THE BAPTIST
CHURCH AND THE NEXT YEAR AT THE METHODIST CHURCH. FIVE GENERATIONS OF
OUR FAMILY HAVE ENJOYED THEM.

    IN THE EARLY 1900'S THE LADIES OF OUR CHURCH WERE MISSION MINDED.
MISS ANNIE ARMSTRONG CAME TO CUTHBERT AND THREE LADIES FROM BLUFFTON,
MRS. J. E. MANSFIELD AND MRS. J. S. HAISTEN WERE AMONG THOSE THAT
ATTENDED. OUR LADIES HAVE SERVED THE LORD AND THIS CHURCH THROUGH THE
W. M. U.

    THE FORT GAINES SENTINEL FEBRUARY 8, 1901 GAVE A REPORT ON AN
EDUCATION RALLY FOR M ER UNIVERSITY HELD AT BLUFFTON. SERMONS WERE BY
REV. A. S. KEESE, D. D. WHO WAS PRINCIPLE OF THE BETHEL COLLEGE AT CUTHBERT.
THAT WAS SUPPORTED BY THE BETHEL BAPTIST ASSOCIATION. IT WAS DESTROYED
BY FIRE IN 1901, AND ALSO DR. J. W. STANFORD SPOKE THAT DAY.

    THE BLUFFTON BAPTIST CHURCH HAS THROUGH THE YEARS BEEN
RESPONSIVE TO LOCAL AND CONVENTION PROGRAMS AND IN SEVERAL INSTANCES
HAS BEEN THE BIRTHPLACE OF ACTIVITIES WHICH WERE ADOPTED AND ENLARGED
BY THE GEORGIA BAPTIST CONVENTION. WE MENTION FOUR OF THESE IMPORTANT
MOVEMENTS:

    1. THE CHURCH LOADED RAILROAD CARS OF PROVISIONS AND SHIPPED THEM TO
THE GEORGIA BAPTIST CHILDREN 'S HOME. THE FIRST CAR TO BE SENT WAS IN 1916
AND THIS CAR WAS STARTED IN ARLINGTON AND MOVED ON TO EDISON, CUTHBERT
AND SHELLMAN. TRUCK LOADS OF PROVISIONS FROM ALL CHURCHS IN THE BETHEL
ASSOCIATION WERE SENT TO THE NEAREST RAILROAD. THIS WAS PLANNED AT
BLUFFTON IN 1916 AND GREW TO BECOME A SUBSTANCIAL SUPPORT FOR THE
HOME.

    2. IN 1922 SEVEN MEMBERS SET ASIDE 1 ACRE OF THEIR COTTON CROP TO BE
PLANTED AND HARVESTED FOR THE CHURCH IN 1923. THESE ACRES PRODUCED A
GOOD RETURN AND THE MOVEMENT HAD MUCH PUBLICITY AND WAS PRACTICED IN
MANY SECTIONS OF OUR NATION

    3. THE BLUFFTON ENCAMPMENT WAS INAUGURATED IN 1923 AND CONTINUED UNTIL
1932. IN JULY OF EACH YEAR REPRESENTATIVES FROM ALL THE CHURCHES IN THE
BETHEL BAPTIST ASSOCIATION CAME TO BLUFFTON FOR THE ENCAMPMENT. THE
KILLINGSWORTH BUILDING WAS PURCHASED BY THE ASSOCIATION, AND USED FOR
THE DINING ROOM AND KITCHEN AND CHURCHES FROM THE FIVE DISTRICTS
BROUGHT PROVISIONS AND HELPED THE LOCAL COMMITTEES PREPARE AND SERVE
THE FOOD. THE HOMES OF ALL THE BLUFFTON PEOPLE WERE MADE AVAILABLE FOR
THE VISITORS FROM THE CHURCHES. THEY HAD SUNRISE SERVICES, MORNING
CLASSES, AFTERNOON CLASSES, VESPERS AND THE NIGHT SERVICE. TEACHERS
AND MINISTERS FROM THE GEORGIA BAPTIST CONVENTION, MISSIONARIES FROM
SOME FOREIGN FIELD CAME TO SPEAK AND GLADDEN THE HEARTS OF YOUNG AND
OLD. FRIENDS WERE MADE THAT LASTED A LIFE TIME.
SOME OF THE MANY PEOPLE THAT WORKED FOR THIS SUCCESS WAS, MR. & MRS. W.
T. HAMMACK, DR. W. O. SHEPARD, J. E. MANSFIELD, J. B. GOODMAN, R. T. THOMPSON,
A. M. HUBBARD, J. ?. KILLINGSWORTH, J. W. SHAW, E. T. GAY AND HERMAN BASS,
AND THEIR FAMILIES MADE THE ENCAMPMENT POSSIBLE.

    4. IT WAS DURING THIS PERIOD THAT MISS EVA GUILLEBEAU WAS EMPLOYED
AS ASSOCIATION SUNDAY SCHOOL WORKED AND HER WORK WAS VERY EFFECTIVE
AND AFTERWARD GREW INTO THE PROGRAM OF ASSOCIATIONAL MISSIONS
PROGRAM FOR GEORGIA AND SOUTHERN BAPTIST. THIS PROGRAM WAS
INTRODUCED AND DIRECTED FROM THE BLUFFTON BAPTIST CHURCH.

SOME OF OUR FORMER PASTORS WERE:
THOMAS MUSE                                CIRCUIT RIDER
J. S. PARKER                                   1860 - 1875
THOMAS MUSE ---------------------          1885 _ 1886
C. A, JACKSON ------------------------       1901
B. W. DAVIS ----------------------              1902 - HOST TO BETHEL ASSOCIATION 1st
                                                                  RECORDED CLERK
J. I. D. MILLER ------------------------       1903
B. W. DAVIS-------------------------------     1903
T. M. THOMAS --------------------------      1916
HENRY M. MELTON---------------------     1916 - 1917
J. H. COIN ----------------------------------     1921
W. T. BODENHAMMBR-------------        1931
W. O. BROWN ---------------------------      1933
BRO. CARSWELL ----------------------      1937
CHARLES ALLEN -----------------------     1944 - 1945
G. T. DUPREE-------------------------------   1949
JOSEPH FAULKNER----------------------  1949 - 1951
ENGLISH BYRD --------------------------    1951 - 1952
MARVIN SMITH ---------------------------    3-15-1953 - FEB. 1965
CHARLES WOODFIN --------------------- APRIL 4, 1965 - MAY 21, L966
EARNEST THOMAS ----------------------  SEPTEMBER IS, 1966 1ST SERMON
                                                                   ACCEPTED CHURCH OCTOBER 2, 1966
                                                                   SERVED UNTIL JULY 16, 1967
JA I. LOPER ---------------------------------- DEC. 1967 - JULY 6, 1969
CHARLES WIMBERLY --------------      SEPT. 1969 - SPRING 1970
CHARLES BREWER ----------------        NOV. 1, 1970

    ON SUNDAY JULY t, 1969 WE OBSERVED OUR 100th ANNIVERSARY WITH A
CAPACITY CONGREGATION ATTENDING THE WORSHIP SERVICE. BRO. HENRY
KELTON BROUGHT THE MORNING SERMON "TELL Men COD LOVES US". AFTER A
DELICIOUS BUFFET LUNCHEN BROTHER C. A. VEATCH, MISSIONARY TO THE BAHAMA
ISLANDS SPOKE AND THEN WE HAD GOOD GOSPEL SINGING. IN 1932 WE HAD 110
MEMBERS. WE NOW HAVE 97 MEMBERS

OUR PRESENT PASTOR - BROTHER CHARLES BREWER
CLERK - MRS. JACK DURHAM
TREASURY - MR. JACK DURHAM
SUNDAY SCHOOL SUPT. - MR. BOBBY BROOKS

DEACONS:
C. L, HUBBARD
FELIX COINS
M. M. GOODMAN
RAYMOND CHANCE
JOHN C. BRUNER
ALBERT HUDBARD

    OUR LORD HAS TOUCHED MANY LIVES THROUGH THIS CHURCH. IT WOULD
BE SO WONDERFUL IF WE COULD JUST REMEMBER THEM ALL. AS IT IS IMPOSSIBLE
WE WOULD STILL LIKE TO REMEMBER TWO OF OUR OWN WHO HAS GIVEN THEIR
LIFE TO SERVE THE LORD IN A VERY SPECIAL WAY. BROTHER BILLY COINS, CHAPLIN
OF THE PRISONS OF GEORGIA, HAS GIVEN SO MUCH OF HIS LIFE IN THIS CAPACITY
AND ALSO AS PASTORS OF DIFFERENCE CHURCHES. HELEN HUBBARD VEATCH HAS
ALSO GIVEN SO MUCH OF HER LIFE AS THE WIFE OF HER HUSBAND CAROL A.
VEATCH WHO IS A MISSIONARY TO THE BAHAMA ISLANDS. SHE HAS DONE SO VERY
MUCH IN WINNING PEOPLE TO CHRIST NOT ONLY HERE IN THE STATES BUT AIM IN
THE ISLANDS. WE ARE 50 VERY PROUD OF THEM AND THE WORK THAT THEY
CONTINUE TO DO.
    WE HAVE ANOTHER PERSON WHO DID SOMETHING FOR THE BLUFFTON
BAPTIST CHURCH SOME YEARS AGO THAT WE HAVE ENJOYED AND WILL CONTINUE
TO ENJOY FOR YEARS TO COME. IT WAS TOLD TO ME HOW MRS. ANNIE KATE
JOHNSON WORKED SO VERY HARD TO. OBTAIN THE NECESSARY MONEY TO BUY THE
PULPIT FURNITURE THAT IS NOW IN THE CHURCH. WE ARE 50 GRATEFUL SO HER
FOR THE TIME SHE SPENT BECAUSE IT HAS BROUGHT US MUCH HAPPINESS AND
PRIDE. I HAVE HEARD PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THIS PART OF THE COUNTRY
COMMENT ON HOW PRETTY IT
    WE CAN ALL BE PROUD OF THE HISTORY OF OUR CHURCH AND WE SHOULD
BE INSPIRED BY IT TO CONTINUE IN THE LORDS WORK.

Submitted by John R Johnson [ john@bridgebs.com ]

Thanks John!!

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