Preserving Rural Church History since 2012

Historic Rural Churches of Georgia was founded in 2012 by Sonny Seals and
George Hart with a mission to research, document and ultimately preserve
historic rural churches across the state. The movement started when Sonny
inadvertently discovered his great grandfather’s grave in the old graveyard
of Powelton Methodist, a long inactive church in the “lost village of
Powelton”. That discovery of his personal family roots and the related
history of the little village of Powelton led Sonny and George to wonder
about the old rural churches across the state and the disappearing villages.
How many were there? What will happen to them? Does anybody care? Is there
any way to save them? These questions are what led to the development of
this website.

Georgia is blessed with many of these old rural treasures, but many of them
are now gone and others are badly in need of assistance. HRCGA has recruited
a group of very talented and passionate photographers to document these
treasures in the style we think of as “reverential documentation”.  Our
group of talented photographers make these old sanctuaries come alive with
beautiful photographs, while paying appropriate attention to the primitive
architectural integrity of the structures. We try to capture the beauty of
the sanctuaries, inside and out, but also the history behind them. We also
use the haunting cemeteries to tell some of the stories of the rural
pioneers who founded and built these treasures. Simply put, Georgia history
in unique in many ways and Georgia history is rural church history…the
story of who we are and how we got here.

HRC Leadership

Sonny Seals, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

[email protected]

George Hart, President

[email protected]

Board of Directors

Tom Beard

Mr. Beard is a Senior Vice President of Wealth Management for Morgan Stanley. Tom joined Smith Barney, now Morgan Stanley, in March of 2004, coming from the Private Wealth Management division of Deutsche Bank Alex Brown. As Managing Director with the Deutsche Bank Mid Atlantic Group for the investment banking division, and as Director of the Atlanta branch of Stephens, Inc. (Little Rock, Arkansas), Tom launched investment banking opportunities on a national and international scale, with a focus on the Southeast. A graduate of the University of Georgia business school, Tom was a U.S. Army officer and later served in the White House as Deputy Assistant to President Carter. He has been a board member with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, The Atlanta College of Art, The National Symphony Orchestra Board of Trustees, The President’s Committee for the Olympic Games in Atlanta, the International Campaign for Tibet, and Camp Sunshine. He is also a former co-owner of three Winston Cup NASCAR race teams.

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