The Church of Christ at Antioch is situated on Stephen’s Creek on land donated by David Curry and William May. It was constituted on January 17, 1834 by Elders Jessie Moon and Guthridge Ivey with ten charter members, some of whom came from Bethlehem Baptist Church. The church served white and black congregants until 1868 when the black members withdrew to establish what would become Holly Springs Baptist Church. In January 1885, Antioch reported 53 male and 99 female members. In the aftermath of the Civil War, this disparity of the sexes would be commonplace all over the south.
Services were held once a month. By 1930, many people of the community were moving toward towns and away from the rural lifestyle, but the remaining members held on for as long as they could. By the mid 1940’s the church was no longer active but began holding homecoming and singing conventions. There is a wonderful Youtube video of the 2013 annual reunion held at Antioch. These reunions are held the 2nd Sunday in May each year and they enable the old church to stay alive. Hearing the sounds of these old hymns still ringing in the Georgia pines would be music for the soul.
The little Antioch Baptist church is located on a dirt road miles from the nearest civilization. It lost its congregation many years ago, like so many of the rural churches. And though it looks plain from the outside, the interior and and old cemetery give the place a quiet dignity that is hard to describe. The sanctuary speaks of the essence of these rural churches, especially one as remote as this one. The church was the center of everything for these early Georgia settlers and you can feel it here. All rural life, social contact, governance and spiritual sustenance came from the church. The original church founders and many of their descendents are located in the cemetery in a field of broom straw. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
The Church is located in a very remote location on a red dirt road. There has been some minimal maintenance performed in an attempt to stabilize the structure and most of the windows are boarded with plywood. You don’t know what to expect when you walk in but then there it is….” Glory to God in the Highest” written on the wall with a few letters missing. If one wants to view a historic rural Georgia church and enjoy the authentic experience of standing in and witnessing…almost totally unchanged… a 19th century meeting house, go to Antioch. The roof, walls and foundation appear to still be sound; we found no signs of leaks. This church can still be rescued from oblivion, if someone wants to take on the job. Click here to see and hear some moving music and the accompanying sermon.
One thing is for sure, Georgia Baptists and Methodists could sing. Though this old piano has clearly seen better days, it is not hard to imagine all the windows open in the heat and the strains of The Old Rugged Cross wafting through the pines. Now through the magic of Youtube the old church lives. Click here and enjoy.
The door to Antioch Baptist is always open. In its many decades of existence, how many congregants… rich or poor, black or white, young or old… have turned that knob, entered their house of worship and found the comfort, consolation, friendship and spiritual uplifting they were looking for? Welcome to the House of the Lord.
The roof is in pretty good shape and someone is trying to keep the weather out and make critical repairs. Bless you sir, whoever you are.
The cemetery is quite moving. Headstones rise up in a field of broom sedge gently swaying in the wind. There are 110 interments in the cemetery with the oldest dated 1830. The most prominent families buried here, in terms of numbers, are the original church founders, David Curry and William May, along with their descendants.
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I wonder if there any membership records of Antioch Baptist Church available. I have family members who were born in Washington County and wonder if they were members. The family name : WIGGINS.
Evie, the Hebron community is down below Oconee in Washington County. In the area of Olive Hill Baptist Church.
Thank you for your response to my request for information about churches in Deepstep area of Washington County. My grandfather, Charles Anderson Wood was a Baptist minister in the Hebron Community. I have not yet been able to pinpoint that area/location. My great grandfather, Anderson Wood was active in the Deepstep area however I am not sure if it was Baptist or Methodist in which he was involved. I have enjoyed reading the information you provide for the historic churches of Georgia.
Thank you for the message. We appreciate your inquiry and hope that you enjoyed reading about Antioch Baptist. It sounds like you have some very interesting family history to uncover and research!