Akin Memorial United Methodist Church is located in the southern section of Wayne County. Its interior is one of the loveliest we have seen among the simpler country churches we explore. This church has stood for over a century as a place for men, women, boys and girls to worship, be taught and inspired to live better lives. Lawrence Randall Akin erected the building, built of virgin heart pine lumber in 1892. It was dedicated as Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church.
Mr. Akin had moved to Mt. Pleasant from Camden County as a young boy. In 1882, he met Jane Brown, also from Camden County, when she came to visit his mother. Two years later on May 17, 1884, they were married. After the honeymoon, they returned to live in Mt. Pleasant and start their family. Lawrence had already told everyone he wanted twelve children. He got his wish and twelve were born in less than 23 years. Lawrence Akin was a very conservative lumber and turpentine man, a director of the First National Bank of Brunswick, a senator, a legislator, a family man, a good husband, good father and a faithful church attendee… even to the point of building his own church at Mt. Pleasant.
One of the reasons this church was built was because Mr. Akin already had a big family and knew that it would eventually get bigger and he was too embarrassed to take such a large family into the Methodist Church in Brunswick. The congregation was made up of the people who worked in the lumber mill, the commissary, the train station and even neighbors from Everett City and Gardi. A visiting preacher from Jesup would come down every Sunday to hold the service each week.
Many pastors served the church for the first half-century and the church was on several different circuits or charges in Wayne, Glynn, and Mclntosh Counties. The church served the little town and community of Mt. Pleasant for about half a century. The main business of the section, saw milling, slowly dwindled in the 1920’s due to bad land management practices and over-cutting. Then the mill was closed and Mt. Pleasant began its decline into obscurity. The church, both spiritually and physically, was in much need of repair. In 1940-1942, about six people worshiped here. The Methodist Conference was seriously considering closing the old church.
Several years before this, Brunswick Pulp and Paper Co. had bought the land and holdings at Mt. Pleasant. Old buildings were torn down and cleared away. New ones were built and some new families moved in. At this time, Rev. John Swain (Retired) came over from Darien once a month and held an afternoon service. Very soon, ways and means were sought to restore the church building. Mrs. Edith Mclntosh, one of the other members, was interested and contacted some members of the Akin family for financial help and they became involved as well. Mrs. Ruth Akin Hightower, with other members of the family, had the church restored and repaired. The church was was appropriately renamed in honor of Lawrence Akin at that time.
The above is from the local church history. We can only add our sincere appreciation to all who participated in the re-birth of this magnificent example of a historic rural church in the Georgia pineywoods. Thank you for all you do for her and for us.
How could you walk in to this isolated sanctuary and not suddenly exclaim, “Wow”! This dazzling display of a totally heart pine interior is spectacular. One needs to see it to appreciate and believe it. The restoration overseen by Mrs. Ruth Akin Hightower and other congregants was thorough, authentic and a labor of love. They have given future generations a great gift.
This is a detailed photo of one of the matched gothic windows that adorn the north and south walls of the sanctuary. The stained glass is American made, well leaded and expertly joined in a way to accent the beauty of the windows while not overwhelming them by the marvelous heart pine frames.
This view from the pulpit reveals the effectiveness of the six side windows and twin west wall windows in bringing natural light into the sanctuary. It also reveals the two entrances into the sanctuary from the vestibule, one for women and children, another for men. Though segregation of men, women and children within the sanctuary was no longer imposed when this church was built, tradition still called for the two doors. Habits and ritual die hard.
It may seem redundant, but we chose this close-up of an entry door because of its dramatic expression of the unique characteristics of virgin long-leaf pine, no longer available in quantity. Looking at this photo, a person can understand why it was so sought after for interior finishing of houses and buildings across America in the 19th and early 20th century. Its incredibly tight grain and light brown color was easily finished to produce the glowing, warm and inviting scene you see. Of course, that popularity generated the rush to harvest that decimated these ancient forests. Less than 3% of these trees remain.
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If anyone would like to see inside of this beautiful church, I would be glad to meet with you to show it. It truly is a sight to see.
Greg Moore – 912-602-2928
Greg, what a nice offer. Your church is a real beauty.
I am a lifelong member of Midway United Methodist Lagrange Ga. You recently featured our church . Thank you for this honor. If you would notify me with your mailing address I would like to send a check as a donation. Thank you -JoAnn Hamilton. 107 Glendale Drive LaGrange, Ga.30240
Interested to know more about the Akin(s) family located in Wayne County. Need to know if they migrated down from Bulloch County. Also, need information re the Akin(s) buried in the cemetery, plus those buried at Union Baptist and Mt. Pleasant cemeteries, all located within the same general area.
Edwin, my understanding is they were from Camden and Brunswick. My great grandfather moved to Atlanta in the 1930’s (I think) and our family has been here every since. We go down to the church as much as possible but has been a while. I hope to visit soon. – Michael Lawrence Akin
What a beautiful church ? I would love to see all the Historical Churches in Ga.