Israel Temple CME

Butts County
Org 1867
Photography by Tony Cantrell

The local church history tells us that in 1867, a group of formerly enslaved people decided to leave the white Methodist Church south of Jackson, Ga to organize a church in the black community.  It was known then as the Colored Methodist Church. They first met under a brush arbor on land that was donated to them.

According to their church history, “these bold men and women left the White Methodist Church as a result of the Civil War, the nature of slave religion, lack of policy regarding black members, the affected missionary efforts of Northern missionaries, and the desire for a separate religious institution where they could sing songs of Zion with feelings, pray prayers of confession, and enjoy the feeling of being a real part of the worship service.”

In 1868, they moved into a former Baptist Church building as their membership grew. From 1871 to 1888, their numbers grew so rapidly that it became necessary to tear down the old structure and build a larger one. In 1891 after much turmoil and debate, the present structure was built and the cornerstone was laid for the building, which the congregation still occupies today. This building was completed through the sacrifices of many members who gave freely of their labor and their funds to erect the chapel. As a result of their efforts over the years, Israel Temple is among the oldest CME churches in Georgia.

The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, familiarly known as the CME Church, was organized December 16, 1870 in Jackson, Tennessee by 41 former slave members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Composed primarily of African Americans, the CME Church is a branch of Wesleyan Methodism founded and organized by John Wesley in England in 1844 and established in America as the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1784. The CME Church has more than 1.2 million members across the United States, and has missions and sister churches in Haiti, Jamaica and fourteen African nations.

Israel Temple CME Church is a very beautiful as well as historic church.  It has been lovingly cared for by the congregants since 1867.  We are so grateful for their stewardship and preservation of this historic structure.  Be sure to click and scroll on the photos below for more information about Israel Temple CME.