Tag Archives: Churches of Candler County GA

Lake Primitive Baptist Church, 1839, Candler County

One of the most historic congregations in the county, and one of the oldest Primitive Baptist congregations in existence, Lake Primitive Baptist Church traces its origins to 1823, when settlement in this section of Georgia was beginning to take hold. Several sources note that the present structure was built in 1839, but I’m unable to confirm at this time. In design, it is quite similar to Upper Lotts Creek Primitive Baptist, nearby. The adjacent Lake Cemetery is the largest in Candler County.

Salem Baptist Church, Candler County

Salem is said to be the oldest church in Candler County, built in 1875. I haven’t been able to confirm the construction date, as my two sources are in conflict. One source notes that it began meeting in 1875 and was formally organized in 1900.

Guido Gardens, Metter

Guido Gardens is a place of refuge, just a couple of miles off I-16 in Metter, which has always been free and open to the public 24/7, 365 days a year. Walk around these three acres and you’re guaranteed to find a sense of inner peace, no matter your faith or belief system. It’s a testament to the vision of Michael Guido, who was better known as “The Sower” through his syndicated newspaper column and radio and television broadcasts, Seeds from the Sower. His wife, Audrey, was responsible for the design of the gardens. At a time when televangelists were plagued with scandal, Michael Guido was seen as a stabilizing voice. He never asked for money and actually gave his message to any and all who would hear it. Guido’s Sower Ministries is still going strong.

Take an hour and walk through the pines and flower beds. Listen to the calming sounds of waterfalls, which seem to be around ever corner.

One of the great features of the gardens is the Chapel in the Gardens, a modern prayer chapel built in 1984 in memory of Evelyn Stillwell. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale came to Metter to assist with the dedication.

As the guest registry in the chapel indicates, people come from all over the country and even the world to this special place of refuge.

The Carpenter’s Shop and the Empty Tomb (not pictured) are representations of important places in Jesus’ life.

A museum is also located on the grounds.

Rosemary Primitive Baptist Church, 1875, Candler County

Rosemary Primitive Baptist Church 1875 Candler County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Hiram Jones gave the land for this church along Fifteen Mile Creek in 1875. It remains a very active congregation.

Everett’s Store, Circa 1900, Excelsior

Excelsior GA Candler County Josh Everett Store Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Josh Everett originally had a small commissary or farm store beside his house, but his business grew so much that he built this store in front of the house to accommodate it. Seeing it over the cotton plants, I was just sure that this was originally a Primitive Baptist Church, as the design is similar to many of them I’ve photographed, but thanks to Susan Nevil, I now know the real history.Viewed from the front, it’s more obvious that it was a country store.

Everett's Store Excelsior GA Candler County Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

It did serve briefly as a church in 1984 (though that is a small part of its story) after a tornado destroyed the Excelsior Baptist Church. That summer, the ladies of the church cleaned out the old store and put it to use while a new church was being built. The church also began a mission with the Hispanic community at that time and it has grown into today’s Iglesia Cristiana Hispana in Metter.

Primitive Grove Primitive Baptist Church, 1907, Candler County

historic primitive grove baptist church candler county ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2009