Antioch Baptist

Washington County
Org 1834
Photography by Scott Farrar

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 By the mid 1940’s the church was no longer active but began holding homecoming and singing conventions.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.