A Savior for Walker Grove

Written by Kelly Gomez | Posted on 6 January 2022


A lot of work has happened to save this special 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.

The History of Walker Grove

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 served African American children of this community.

All that remains of the school at Walker Grove that served the African-American children of the community. Photo courtesy of Randall Davis.

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.

Walker Grove as it looked in 2018 when one of our team photographers visited the church. Photo courtesy of Randall Davis.

A Savior Steps up for Walker Grove

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 about it. Zandra and her non-profit organization have worked since then, project by project, 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.

Top photo: c. 2017 when the church was abandoned. Photo courtesy of Randall Davis. Bottom photo: c. 2021

The Work Being Done at Walker Grove

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. 

Zandra hopes to open the building to the public in 2022 for an open house where people can come to learn more about the church, its former congregants, and how important it was to its community.

How You Can Help

We ask that those of you who are able to step up to help her She’s wrapping up the final stages of work to have the building ready for a community opening day early next year. Any donations you make will go towards the final pieces of this project, and will be so much appreciated by the following generations who will have the opportunity to enjoy the church as well.