From the congregational history: In the year 1900 a church was organized at the old Sawgrass School outside of Hortense GA. The “Sawgrass” Church was started as a response to a revival held in the area by Rev. J J Williams.
In 1904 property across the street from the school was donated to the church. The first building, and still current worship area, is pictured to the left. Although the nickname “Sawgrass” is how many still know the church, from 1904 on the official name of the church was Philadelphia Wesleyan Methodist Church.
For a period of time Philadelphia was part of a “circuit”, a group of four churches that were pastored by one person. In this case, Philadelphia was on a circuit with Browntown Wesleyan Methodist, Hortense Wesleyan Methodist, and Oak Grove Wesleyan Methodist.
In 1968 the Wesleyan Methodist and Pilgrim Holiness denominations merged. As a result, the name of the church became Philadelphia Wesleyan Church.
The following pastors have led Philadelphia Wesleyan through the years: F L Thornton, W B Lee, M M Strickland, J D Patterson, A G Cornelison, J C Clubb, W B Clubb, F H Harris, H R Gumby, W T Brinson, G H Doty, C M Payne, W L Snellgrove, E L Elford, Rev. Alexander, W G Wagnon, W V Hartley, R C Mathis, Henry Sapp, Thomas Lentz, David Horne, and Ron Stayman. In 2016 the Lord brought our current Pastor, Tim and Karen Johnson, to Philadelphia.