Church History

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In 1880 a small group of both permanent and “Augusta summer people” decided the small village of Grovetown, located alongside the Georgia Railroad, needed a Methodist meeting place. Dr. Joseph Hatton, one of the town’s most esteemed residents, allowed the group to erect a three-sided structure in a clearing on his land. It had a tented top and an open side that faced the main road (now known as Robinson Avenue). It was used for semi-regular worship from 1880 until the spring of 1881 when the tented top was replaced with a roof, a fourth wall added, and better arrangements made for the regular attentions of a circuit minister.

The first minister assigned to the new Grovetown mission was Reverend Eton P Bonner. By 1881 the little wooden structure was officially recognized by the North Georgia Conference as an established Methodist meeting place. Between 1885-1886 a three room residence was built next to the church and served as the church and charge parsonage for 89 years.

In 1923-24 the little old wooden church was torn down and a new sanctuary built in its place. Anything that could be salvaged from the old church was incorporated into the new one and strong 125 year old heart of pine support beams from that first building can be found in the attic of the present one.

By 1891 the Grovetown Methodist Episcopal Church South had become the lead church for the Grovetown Charge circuit. The Grovetown Charge and its circuit preacher-in-charge oversaw several churches in both Richmond and Columbia counties. Pierce Memorial (formerly known as The Rocks), Mann Memorial, Philadelphia, Lewis Memorial (Sardis), Marvin, Riverview, Dearing and Friendship were all part of the Grovetown Charge at one time or the other. In addition new small church missions were attempted at Pace Chapel in Evans, Adams Chapel, Belair and Barton Chapel. Little St. Mary’s church out in the rural Appling area was disbanded at the turn of the 20th century but was also one of the earlier charge churches. Two other sister churches, Reid’s Chapel and Linwood were both forced to sell their property to the federal government when Ft. Gordon was built and both churches torn down.

As a part of the Augusta District and the North Georgia Conference, many of Georgia’s most esteemed Methodist leaders have been a part of its leadership either as old time preachers-in-charge or presiding elders.