The village of Penfield owes its origin to Mercer University that was located there in 1833. It was begun as a labor school under the supervision of the Baptist Church. The school prospered and attracted a number of prominent families, most of whom were connected with the Baptist Church. A few Presbyterian families, represented by the Boswell family and others, moved into Penfield in the mid 19th century and began to worship under the Presbyterian doctrine. The Penfield Presbyterians were served initially by the visiting pastor who preached on Sunday night in Penfield in private homes and sometimes in the Baptist sanctuary. Impelled by a desire to have preaching more often and to enable their children to worship in their own sanctuary, the Penfield Presbyterians determined to build their own house of worship.
The present church was erected in the spring of 1876 at a cost of $1,100. One is struck by the design and the architecture of the sanctuary……….a combination of brick, Gothic arches and elaborate steeple. Not very common for rural Georgia churches of the time. The church added some new pews and some chairs around the turn of the century but little else has been changed, other than two of windows have been dedicated to the memory of founder Johnson Boswell and Eliza Cheney Boswell. Still going strong for over 125 years.
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The interior of the church is stunning and is quite a testament to the sophistication and the prosperity of the Penfield community. Greene County was one of the richest in Georgia and Penfield was a cultural mecca for the county. For a contrast, go to the Greene County page and click on Bethany Presbyterian. Bethany was almost a hundred years earlier and it's location was much more rural.
The window treatments, the trim work and the pews reflect the quiet dignity that complements these back country Presbyterians. It reflects the simple but sophisticated approach to spirituality that was prevalent in this lovely Georgia village.
Not a lot has changed at Penfield but the electric organ makes things a lot easier than working with the foot pedals
The pulpit also reflects the historical posture of the church.......simple, dignified and strong.
Thank you citizens of Penfield and Greene County for your stewardship and your service for over 125 years. Well done.
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Johnson and Eliza Boswell were my great-great-great grandparents.
Beautiful chuch. Thankful for the Boswell family who supported this church and reformed theology early on.