The roots of Oglethorpe Baptist go back to 1847 when sixteen pioneers, four men and twelve women, organized a Baptist church in the little village of Hamburg. Then in 1850, the church extended an arm to the village of Oglethorpe. This action was triggered by the fact that the railroad was coming to Oglethorpe in 1851. For several years afterward, Oglethorpe was a teeming township of several thousand. The local history stated that the first record of an established church in Oglethorpe is found in the minutes that refer to the Baptist Church of Cuyler at Oglethorpe. The present building, built in 1895 is the second location of the church.
The history tells us the first service in the new church took place in January of 1896, and that the tower was completed in 1898 at a cost of $18.60. It also tells us the Baptistry was built in 1904 and three young women were the first to be “buried in this liquid grave”. The same year the church agreed to send to the Association “one dollar for minutes, one dollar for associational purposes, three dollars for domestic missions and three dollars for furrin missions”.
Prior to the Civil War, the church had an active African American membership. Even after the war, the history records that “negroes were received in 1866 when two colored sisters came forward and related their experience and were received”. During the turbulent times of reconstruction, many of the African American church members stayed with the white churches for a few years, before deciding to form their own churches.
The history further states that “the negroes began to change their attitude toward the church, and in 1870 it was granted that some action should be taken by the church in relation to the colored members, they having apparently abandoned the church. Whereupon we appointed a committee to notify them to appear at our next meeting that we might confer with them and ascertain if it was their desire io remain with us, or to withdraw from us………when several of our colored members made application for letters of dismission……it was agreed that the clerk grant letters to any or all of them”.
Oglethorpe Baptist has a long tradition of service to the community and has a vibrant congregation today. In the 1950s it was decided to build a new brick church and the present church was sold to the Seventh Day Adventist congregation, who moved it to its present location in 1955. We even found an old photo of the church being moved and in transit to its current location. As you can see, today it is standing proud and well maintained.
We love this old photo of “Moving Day” in the mid-1950’s. Instead of abandoning and losing
the old building as is so often the case, Oglethorpe Baptist’s Church was sold to another
church, moved and reinvented in the hands of the Seventh Day Adventist congregation while
the Oglethorpe Congregation built a new brick home nearby. We salute both congregations and
wish them another 100 years of worship and service.
This is a closeup view of the North West Entry into Oglethorpe and the Port Cochere which was
attached to the rear by the new, Seventh Day Adventist owners in the 1950’s. We must admit
that, though the original building’s appearance had been quite different from this present one,
this single gable, two towered, double entryway church is quite striking and memorable.
These three Gothic, Lancet, stained glass windows stand proudly in the middle of the
façade on the west wall at the Church. In this close up, we can see that the widows are in
excellent condition and well taken care of.
This is a close up view of one of the lovely stained glass entry doors. They bring a colorful
and cheerful atmosphere to the lovely interior of this beautiful sanctuary.
This is a photo of the unique chancel, pulpit and apse design at Oglethorpe. As you can see, the
suspended ceiling allows for the creation of a high ceiling with a vault and curved walls within
Here we are standing in the rear aisle of this sanctuary. We can see that lovely stained glass
windows allow ambient light to flood into the sanctuary from the north and south sides. We
also can see the comfortable wooden pews that were probably purchased when the church
This colorful shot allows us to see and appreciate the welcoming interior of Oglethorpe. Looking
from behind the pulpit on a sunny day, all of the church’s beautiful windows come alive and
create a worshipful atmosphere throughout.
This stately and tasteful marker rests in the well kept front yard and welcomes all comers.
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