Lake Primitive Baptist Church

candler County
Org 1823
Photography by Bryan Stovall

The following 1994 history is from the Lake Church Board of Deacons – “In Bulloch County, Georgia, on Nov. 27, 1823, in a log building near the Fifteen Mile Creek, a church of Jesus Christ was constituted. The minutes of their first conference began: “We the Baptist Church of Christ as we hope at the Lake…” Today that church is called the Lake Primitive Baptist Church.  There were 18 charter members. They were Thomas Greene, John Dickson, Hezekiah Bowen, Ceng Dickson, Nancy Green, Mary Mercer, Sarah Douberly, Martha Collins, John Green, John Collins, Elizabeth Green, Sarah (a woman of color), Barbary Wills, Veanis (a woman of color), Nancy Cussey, George Pike, Rylie Mercer and Lucy (a woman of color). The church’s first pastor was Elder Robert Donaldson. James Collins was elected as the first clerk, and Abner Stubbs was ordained the first deacon.

After the log building was demolished by a hurricane in the early 1830’s, the members and friends of the church built the present structure. It was dedicated on April 5, 1839. The meeting house stands on a bluff overlooking the lake on the Fifteen Mile Creek, now in Candler Co., Georgia, 3 miles east of Metter.  Built of virgin pine, the church’s structure is in the simple rectangular style of the early meeting houses. Throughout the years, additions and structural changes have been made.  In the December church conference of 1880, a building committee was named, given them “power to manage as they see proper about the building.” Members of this committee were L. Cartee, A. Trapnell, A. Franklin, Madison Warren and D.L. Kennedy. This committee moved the front entrance from the south side of the building to the east side. The full width porch with Doric columns was added. The interior was rearranged, moving the pulpit from the center of the north wall to the west, facing the entrance.

A committee was named in the October 1942 conference to add a baptismal pool. They were BT Atwood, Paul Edenfield and George O. Franklin, Sr. The pool was installed directly behind the pulpit area.  In 1946, a new wood floor was laid, using the original wide planked floor as a sub-floor. The committee supervising this project was George O. Franklin, Sr. L.J. Holloway and B.T. Atwood. The original pine board walls and ceiling have been covered with sheet rock and celotex.  A cement block annex, housing a kitchen and dining room, was added in 1969. Members and friends of the church constructed the annex.

 Through the years, the church has had a caring membership. It is well preserved and lovingly cared for.  The Lake Church is the “Mother Church” to the Metter Primitive Baptist church. On Saturday before the first Sunday in July 1900, the Lake Church granted letters of recommendation to interested persons to constitute a church in Metter.  From he beginning when Elders Jordan Smith, Abram Joyner, and Robert Donaldson examined the church covenant and constituted her a church of Jesus Christ, until now, the Lake Primitive Church has stood as “The House of God; the pillar and ground of the truth.” Her present pastor is Elder Gerald Proctor. Her present membership numbers 44.”

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