Abba Baptist

Irwin County
Org 1889
Photography by Steve Robinson

There is not much available on the early history of Abba Baptist.  We are grateful to Brian Brown and his excellent work on Vanishing Georgia for the history below.  We are also grateful to Mike Kitchens for the vintage photograph below that shows the original architecture that was modified around 1970. 

The church began as Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in 1889, with M. L. Stone as first pastor, and O. D. Mulky as his assistant. Soon thereafter, Reverend Mulky changed the name to New Mt. Zion at Abba. In 1904, the original structure, a simple frame building, was moved across the road toward the railroad track and used as the Abba School for some time.  In 1907, the present structure was built during the pastorate of J. R. Ballenger on land donated by J. M. Bussell.  In 1955, the name of the church was changed to Abba Missionary Baptist Church. By this time, the village of Abba was in danger of disappearing from the map, so the new name was christened to ensure it would live through the ages. At some point, Missionary was dropped and it became simply Abba Baptist Church. (This history was compiled by longtime church secretary Mrs. J. W. C. Brown.)

I’ve always been told the name Abba originates from the Atlanta Birmingham & Atlantic, or A. B. & A Railroad, which ran through the area and made whistlestops there in the late 1800s, though an interesting alternative would be the biblical term abba, which was a transliteration of the old Aramaic for father. I’d love to know for sure…

We are grateful to the Abba congregation for their stewardship of this Georgia treasure for well over 100 years now.  Be sure to click and scroll on the gallery photos below to see the interior of the church and experience the history of some of the early church pioneers in the adjacent graveyard.