Written by Kelly Gomez | Posted on 6 January 2022
Photos of the work underway courtesy of Cynthia Jennings, 2021
A lot of work has happened to save this once-abandoned church in coastal Georgia, and it’s all thanks to one dedicated local woman who decided to take this project on, no matter the obstacles she faced along the way.
In the community of Newington in Screven County is Walker Grove Baptist Church. It was organized out of Cypress Pond Baptist Church in the early 1900s. Adjacent to the building is a historic school that once served African American children of this community.
The church fell out of use and was abandoned for many years. When our team photographer, Randall Davis, visited the site in 2017, we feared that it was too far gone to be saved. But luckily, someone would step up to prove us wrong.
Zandra Overstreet, a lifelong resident of the area and President of the Newington Heritage Society, has long been intrigued by this old church. In 2019, she decided it was time to stop thinking about it and do something. Zandra and her non-profit organization have worked since then, piece by piece, rehabilitating the building. As you can see from its early photos, a lot of work was needed to bring this building back to life but undeterred, Zandra signed up to take on this project.
Over the past two years, Zandra has overseen work on the interior and exterior walls, repairs to the steps and windows, and repainting of the exterior. The progress she has made with very little help or resources during a pandemic is impressive, to say the least.
For the first time in years, the building will be opened to the public for an open house, church service, and picnic. Zandra hopes the event will help to share the story of the church, its former congregants, and how important it was to its community.
The Open House is on April 30, 2022, at 11:00 am, on McKinley Street Newington, GA 30346. For more information, contact: Zandra Overstreet at email@example.com