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Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830. Adherents of the church, known as Mormons, sent missionaries to Georgia first in the 1840s, and then again after the Civil War (1861-65).

Courtesy of the Church Archives, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Rudger Clawson and Joseph Standing

Rudger Clawson and Joseph Standing

Mormon missionaries Rudger Clawson (left) and Joseph Standing are pictured in 1878. In 1879 Standing was killed by a mob in Whitfield County as he and Clawson were traveling to a church conference in Chattooga County.

Image from Church History Library

Mormon Missionaries

Mormon Missionaries

Mormon missionaries pictured in Rome on October 5, 1886. In 1878 John Morgan (standing, far left) moved the Southern States Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Nashville, Tennessee, to Rome.

Courtesy of Special Collections Department, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah

A Marvelous Work and a Wonder

A Marvelous Work and a Wonder

The outline for the best-selling book A Marvelous Work and a Wonder (1950) was written in Atlanta by author LeGrand Richards, while he served as president of the Southern States Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The jacket for the 1962 edition of the book is pictured.

Atlanta Georgia Temple

Atlanta Georgia Temple

The Atlanta Georgia Temple, pictured circa 2009 and located in Sandy Springs, was the first Mormon temple erected in the South. Georgia governor George Busbee spoke at the building's groundbreaking in 1981, and the facility was dedicated two years later.

Photograph by Ray Luce

Mennonite House

Mennonite House

The Mennonite House, pictured in 1962, was located on Houston Street in Atlanta and served as a residence and headquarters for Mennonites active in the civil rights movement. The house was established by Vincent Harding, a Mennonite minister, and his wife, Rosemarie.

Reprinted by permission of Mennonite Church USA Historical Committee

Montezuma Mennonite Community

Montezuma Mennonite Community

Members of the Mennonite community in Montezuma gather for a picnic at the Beaver Creek Festival in 2005. Mennonites, a pacifist Protestant sect founded in Europe during the sixteenth century, first arrived in Georgia in the twentieth century.

Photograph by Camille Bielby

Yoder Farm

Yoder Farm

Menno L. Yoder's farm in Macon County, pictured circa 1970, is one of the farms comprising the Mennonite community in Montezuma. Mennonites maintain a rural, communal lifestyle, often choosing to limit the use of modern technology, dress, and entertainment.

Photograph from The Amish Mennonites of Macon County, Georgia, by E. S. Yoder

Mennonite Farmer

Mennonite Farmer

Mennonite farmer Lloyd Swartzentruber stands in his corn silo in Montezuma. The Mennonite community in Montezuma, affiliated with the Beachy Amish Mennonite sect, arrived in Georgia from Virginia in 1953 and engage primarily in farming.

Mennonite Teaching Team

Mennonite Teaching Team

An interracial Mennonite Bible school teaching team poses in Atlanta in 1963. These volunteers were part of a project sponsored in Atlanta by the Mennonite Central Commitee, which sent minister Vincent Harding to organize desegregation efforts in the South.

Reprinted by permission of Mennonite Church USA Historical Committee

Hawkinsville Meetinghouse

Hawkinsville Meetinghouse

The meetinghouse built by the first Mennonite community in Georgia is pictured near Hawkinsville in Pulaski County, circa 1981. The community was established in 1912 and lasted until 1914.

Photograph from The Amish Mennonites of Macon County, Georgia, by E. S. Yoder

Montezuma Meetinghouse

Montezuma Meetinghouse

The first meetinghouse used by the Mennonite community in Montezuma is pictured in 1981. The community was established in 1953 and today supports three schools and three churches.

Photograph from The Amish Mennonites of Macon County, Georgia, by E. S. Yoder

Zarathushtra

Zarathushtra

The teachings of the prophet Zarathushtra, also known as Zoroaster, form the basis for the ancient monotheistic religion Zoroastrianism. Zarathushtra is thought by most scholars to have lived in what is now Iran sometime between 1500 and 1000 B.C. An active Zoroastrian community has existed in Atlanta since the early 1990s.

Courtesy of Alliance of Religions and Conservation

Faravahar

Faravahar

The faravahar, a prominent motif in Middle Eastern art, functions as a symbol of the Zoroastrian faith. Interpretations of the symbol vary. Zoroastrianism is an ancient religion practiced around the world, with approximately 250 adherents in Georgia as of 2007.

Image from Wikimedia

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Congregation Mickve Israel

Congregation Mickve Israel

Congregation Mickve Israel in Savannah is the oldest Jewish congregation in the South and the third oldest in the United States. The congregation was founded during the establishment of the colony in 1733, and the current temple building was completed in 1878.

Photograph by Mark Kortum 

Judaism

Judaism

The ceiling of the temple for Congregation Beth Jacob in Atlanta features the Star of David, also known as the Magen David, a prominent symbol of Judaism.

Jewish Gravesites

Jewish Gravesites

The Jewish section of Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta is included in a database of cemeteries and burial sites compiled by the Jewish Cemetery Association of Georgia. The association was founded by volunteers at the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum in Atlanta.

Photograph by Kate Wrightson

David Mayer

David Mayer

During the antebellum period in Atlanta, most Jews supported the Confederacy, including David Mayer. Mayer served as Governor Joseph E. Brown's commissary officer, and later became a founding and longtime member of Atlanta's school board.

Temple Bombing

Temple Bombing

Detectives investigate the damage at the side entrance of the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation, commonly known as "the Temple," in Atlanta. The Temple was bombed on October 12, 1958, probably in response to the civil rights activism of the congregation's rabbi, Jacob Rothschild.

Torah Scroll

Torah Scroll

Rabbi Norman Schloss, pictured in 2001, reads the Torah scroll at Congregation Beth Jacob, an Orthodox Jewish synagogue in Atlanta. In 2000 there were 85,900 Jews on record in the Atlanta area, and approximately 93,500 in the state.

Hebrew Benevolent Congregation Synagogue

Hebrew Benevolent Congregation Synagogue

The Hebrew Benevolent Congregation, which first organized in 1860 as the Hebrew Benevolent Society, began construction in 1875 on a synagogue in Atlanta. The Temple, as it came to be known, continues to serve the Jewish community in the city.

Photograph by David 

Temple B’nai Israel

Temple B’nai Israel

Pictured is the sanctuary of Temple B'nai Israel, a Reform Jewish congregation in Albany. The congregation, chartered in 1876, built its first temple in 1882. The current synagogue was dedicated in 1999.

Photograph by Paul Smith. Courtesy of Temple B'nai Israel

Herman Myers

Herman Myers

Herman Myers, a prominent member of the Jewish community in Savannah, was mayor of that city during the 1890s.

Photograph by Wikimedia

Judaism

Judaism

Rabbi Steven Lebow is wearing a robe called a kittel and blowing a shofar, or ram's horn, during a Rosh Hoshanah service at Temple Kol Emeth in east Cobb County, 1998.

Torah

Torah

The Torah scrolls at Temple Beth Jacob, an Orthodox Jewish congregation in Atlanta.

Liberty Congregational Church

Liberty Congregational Church

Members of the Liberty Congregational Church in Hart County gather for a homecoming photograph, circa 1948. The church was likely established around 1878 by Moses Gordon Fleming and continues to be an active congregation.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #
hrt099.

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Center Congregational Church

Center Congregational Church

Center Congregational Church, founded between 1887 and 1894, is located in the Buckhead area of Atlanta. Construction on the current church building, pictured in 2004, began in 1943, and the cornerstone was laid in 1956. The original church structure, built on the same lot, burned down in 1941.

Reprinted by permission of Center Congregational Church Council

Midway Congregational Church

Midway Congregational Church

Midway Congregational Church, located in Liberty County, was founded in 1754 and is one of the oldest Congregational churches in the state. The current building was erected in 1792 to replace the church's first structure, which was burned in 1778 during the Revolutionary War.

Image from Ebyabe

Duncan’s Creek Congregational Church

Duncan’s Creek Congregational Church

Duncan's Creek Congregational Church, pictured in 1955, was built in Gwinnett County in 1889. The Congregational denomination has maintained a presence in Georgia since the eighteenth century.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #
gwn094.

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First Congregational Church

First Congregational Church

Members of the First Congregational Church, including the Reverend Henry Hugh Proctor (standing seventh from left), in Atlanta are pictured circa 1899. Today the church is an affiliate of the United Church of Christ, which formed in 1957.

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Mulberry CME Church

Mulberry CME Church

Mulberry Christian Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1873 and offered church services and a school to Black residents of Lincolnton, the seat of Lincoln County. A congregation of approximately 200 members continues to meet in the church.

Courtesy of Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce

St. Paul CME Church

St. Paul CME Church

St. Paul Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, pictured in 2007, is located in Athens. The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME Church) is a historically Black denomination established in 1870. Originally known as the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, the denomination officially changed its name in 1956.

Photograph by Katie Korth

Lucius Holsey

Lucius Holsey

As bishop of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, Lucius Holsey oversaw the growth of the denomination in his native state of Georgia. He was also instrumental in the establishment of Paine Institute (later Paine College), which opened in Augusta in 1884.

Photograph by Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration

Paine Institute

Paine Institute

Paine Institute (later Paine College) was founded in Augusta by leaders of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, including Lucius Holsey, in 1884. Haygood Memorial Hall (pictured) is known today as Haygood Holsey Hall and houses administrative offices.

Used with permission of Documenting the American South, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries

Butler Street CME Church

Butler Street CME Church

Butler Street Christian Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in Atlanta in 1882. The current church building was completed in 1920 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Prominent past members of the church include civil rights attorney Donald Hollowell and boxer Tiger Flowers.

Courtesy of Butler Street Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

UMC Logo

UMC Logo

The Cross and Flame of the United Methodist Church represent the denomination's relationship to Christ and the Holy Spirit, respectively. The image also symbolizes founder John Wesley's epiphany during a Moravian meeting in 1738, when he felt his "heart strangely warmed."

Reprinted by permission of General Council on Finance and Administration of The United Methodist Church

First United Methodist Church

First United Methodist Church

The First United Methodist Church in Marietta, pictured in 1999, was founded in 1833. The congregation has occupied this building since 1966.

Peachtree Road UMC

Peachtree Road UMC

Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, located in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, was founded in 1925 and moved to its current location in 1942. The church expanded in 1996, adding a children's center and an administrative building.

Arthur Moore

Arthur Moore

Arthur Moore was a prominent Methodist bishop in the Atlanta area from 1940 until his retirement in 1960. Before coming to Atlanta, Moore served as the pastor of churches in Texas and Alabama and, while bishop of the Pacific Coast area, led the Bishops' Crusade in 1937.

Courtesy of Moore Methodist Museum

Uniting Conference Seal

Uniting Conference Seal

The 1968 Uniting Conference, held in Dallas, Texas, joined the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren, a Midwestern denomination, to form the United Methodist Church.

Magnolia Manor

Magnolia Manor

Magnolia Manor's Retirement Center, located in Americus, provides assisted living and medical care to retirees. A ministry of the United Methodist Church, Magnola Manor also operates campuses in several other locations throughout Georgia.

Courtesy of Magnolia Manor, Photograph by Amanda Scullion..

Saint Mark UMC

Saint Mark UMC

A congregation gathers in 1954 at Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Midtown Atlanta. The church was formed in 1872 as the Peachtree Street Mission (or the City Mission) of the First Methodist Church in Atlanta, and by 1875 was known as the Sixth Methodist Church. The congregation adopted its present name in 1902, the same year in which its current church building, designed by W. F. Denny, was constructed.

Courtesy of Special Collections & Archives, Georgia State University Library, Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers Photographic Collection.

Epworth by the Sea

Epworth by the Sea

Epworth by the Sea, a Methodist retreat center on St. Simons Island, was established on Gascoigne Bluff above the Frederica River in 1950. The facility is owned and operated by the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Photograph by The Media Bunch

Camp Meeting

Camp Meeting

A hand-colored aquatint by M. Dubourg depicts a Methodist camp meeting held in North America, circa 1819. Camp meetings were a common event during the years of the Second Great Awakening, a series of Protestant revivals held between 1790 and 1830.

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

John Wesley

John Wesley

John Wesley, a native of England, served as Anglican rector to the Georgia colony between 1735 and 1737. During this time, Wesley's interactions with Moravian settlers influenced his theological perspective, which eventually led to the formal establishment of the Methodist Church in England in 1784. His teachings also spread throughout the colonies, and the Methodist denomination in America was formalized that same year.

Sardis Methodist Church

Sardis Methodist Church

Sardis Methodist Church, established in a log chapel in 1825, is the oldest church in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta. The current structure was built after 1875, when a tornado destroyed the previous church building.

Courtesy of Susan Barnard

Peachtree Road UMC

Peachtree Road UMC

Peachtree Road United Methodist Church was established in Atlanta in 1925 and moved to its current Buckhead location in 1941. As of 2007 the membership of the church numbered nearly 6,000.

AME Church Bishops

AME Church Bishops

Richard Allen (center), the founder of the African Methodist Episcopal denomination, is depicted with other bishops in an 1876 lithograph. Established in Pennsylvania in 1816, the AME Church arrived in Georgia at the close of the Civil War, as missionaries from the denomination entered the state with Union troops.

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

AME Zion Congregation

AME Zion Congregation

Members of the Bush Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church congregation in Barrow County pose at the church on Easter Sunday, 1925. The AME Zion denomination was founded in New York City in 1821 and arrived in the South to minister to freedpeople during the Civil War.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #
brw115.

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Andrew College

Andrew College

Old Main Hall on the campus of Andrew College, a two-year institution in Cuthbert. Founded in 1854 as a women's college, today the school offers a liberal arts curriculum to approximately 400 male and female students. Named for Methodist bishop James Osgood Andrew, the school is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

Image from Rivers Langley

Orphan’s Home

Orphan’s Home

The Orphan's Home, pictured circa 1910, was founded in Norcross in 1871 but moved soon thereafter to its current location in Decatur. Known today as the United Methodist Children's Home, the institution houses around 70 children and provides a variety of social services to approximately 3,000 children each year.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #dek420-85.

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Warren A. Candler Hospital

Warren A. Candler Hospital

Warren A. Candler Hospital, pictured in the early 1960s, was founded as a seaman's hospital in Savannah in 1803 and was acquired by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1930. The Methodists named the facility in honor of Bishop Warren A. Candler.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #
ctm134.

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Mars Hill Baptist Church

Mars Hill Baptist Church

Mars Hill Baptist Church, located in Watkinsville, was founded in 1799. Pictured in 2006, the church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, which formed in Augusta in 1845.

Photograph by Kate Howard, New Georgia Encyclopedia

Penfield Campus

Penfield Campus

The remains of the academy building, which burned in 1977, stand on the fomer campus of Mercer Institute (later Mercer University) in Penfield. The school, founded in 1833, moved to Macon in 1871.

Courtesy of Forrest Shropshire

J. H. DeVotie

J. H. DeVotie

J. H. DeVotie was hired as the first professional leader of the Georgia Baptist Convention in 1877. Under his leadership the membership, missions, and finances of the organization began to flourish.

The Christian Index

The Christian Index

The Christian Index, the official newspaper of the Georgia Baptist Convention, has a circulation of around 62,000. This issue, dated Thursday, April 7, 1921, is volume 101, number 14.

Kingdom Hall

Kingdom Hall

Jehovah's Witnesses, an indigenous American religious group, hold services in buildings known as "kingdom halls." Pictured is the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Monticello.

Photograph by Benny Hawthorne

Charles Taze Russell

Charles Taze Russell

Charles Taze Russell, pictured in 1917, founded the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, the forerunner of the modern-day Jehovah's Witnesses, in Pennsylvania in 1884. As of 2005 approximately 16,000 Witnesses made Georgia their home.

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Buildings Survey, #HABS GA,107-SPLA,1-1.

German Lutheran Church

German Lutheran Church

The German Lutheran Church in Augusta, pictured in 1895, was one of the many Lutheran churches to spring up around the state during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #
ric205.

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Martin Luther

Martin Luther

Martin Luther, depicted in an 1882 painting by F. W. Wehle, reads from the pulpit. A German monk, Luther began the Protestant movement in 1517 by rebelling against the authority of the Catholic Church. He was excommunicated by the Catholic Church in 1521 and went on to found "the churches of the Augsburg confession," the precursor to the Lutheran Church.

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Jerusalem Church

Jerusalem Church

Jerusalem Church was established by the Salzburgers in Ebenezer during the 1730s. Ebenezer, left in ruins after the Revolutionary War, had disappeared by 1855, but Jerusalem Church, now known as Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church, still stands. It is one of the few buildings in Georgia left intact after the Revolutionary War.

Photograph by Bruce Tuten

Luther’s Theses

Luther’s Theses

Legend holds that Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism and the Lutheran Church, nailed ninety-five theses, or opinions, of dissent to the door of the Catholic church in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517.

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Lutheran Church of the Ascension

Lutheran Church of the Ascension

Lutheran Church of the Ascension, pictured circa 1930, was built in Savannah during the 1870s in the Romanesque-Gothic style. Lutheran congregations struggled in the years after the Civil War to retain and attract members, but by the end of the nineteenth century, the denomination experienced a renewed growth in the state.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #ctm157.

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Cornerstone Church of God

Cornerstone Church of God

The Cornerstone Church of God in Athens, pictured in 2006, is one of more than 500 Church of God congregations across the state. A Pentecostal denomination, the Church of God was founded in Tennessee in the late nineteeenth century and has maintained a presence in Georgia since 1903.

Photograph by Kate Howard, New Georgia Encyclopedia

Athens First Assembly of God

Athens First Assembly of God

The Athens First Assembly of God, located in Athens, is one of more than 200 Assemblies of God congregations across the state. A Pentecostal denomination, the Assemblies of God formed in Arkansas in 1914 and began to grow in Georgia, primarily in rural areas, after 1945.

Photograph by Kate Howard, New Georgia Encyclopedia

St. Paul AME Church

St. Paul AME Church

St. Paul AME Church in Macon is one of more than 500 African Methodist Episcopal churches in Georgia today. Pictured is the congregation's second structure, which was located on the site of the present-day Macon Coliseum. In 2006 the church moved into a new building on Shurling Drive.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, # bib234.

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Buddha Statue

Buddha Statue

A statue, made around the second century A.D., depicts Siddhartha Gautama, also known as the Buddha. The teachings of Siddhartha in India around the fifth century B.C. form the foundation of modern Buddhism.

World’s Parliament of Religions

World’s Parliament of Religions

The formal arrival of Buddhism in the West took place in 1893 at the World's Parliament of Religions, an interreligious forum held in Chicago, Illinois. Since that time the practice of Buddhism has become more widespread in the United States, and a number of temples and community centers have organized in Georgia.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

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Wat Buddha Bucha

Wat Buddha Bucha

Two initiates prepare to become Buddhist monks during a ceremony at Wat Buddha Bucha, a Thai Theravada temple in Decatur. The temple offers a variety of courses to the public, including meditation and Thai language instruction.

Courtesy of Wat Buddha Bucha

First Bryan Baptist Church

First Bryan Baptist Church

This post-Civil War sketch depicts members of Savannah's First Bryan Baptist Church, named after early Baptist minister Andrew Bryan, congregating outside the church building. The church is one of the oldest Black churches in North America.

Photograph by James M. Simms

Baptist Minister

Baptist Minister

The Reverend Cameron Alexander delivers a sermon at Antioch Baptist Church in Atlanta in 1994. Organized into three conferences, the Black Baptist church represents the largest African American religious group in the state.

Baptist Deacons

Baptist Deacons

Deacons of the First Colored Church, pictured in 1888, were among the thousands of Blacks to establish independent Baptist churches in the years following emancipation. These early churches grew to serve as spiritual, political, and creative centers of African American culture.

Courtesy of Jack Tarver Library Special Collections, Mercer University

Baptismal Service

Baptismal Service

Forty-eight new adherents are baptized by the Reverend R. W. White in 1913 at New Salem Baptist Church in Wilkes County. The baptism ritual is a significant rite within the Baptist faith, symbolizing the individual's commitment of faith.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #
wlk122.

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Baptist Choir

Baptist Choir

The choir of the First African Baptist Church in Bainbridge sings during a worship service in 1976. Music, beginning with the spirituals sung during the years of slavery, has long been an important aspect of the Black Baptist community.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #
dec212.

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First African Baptist Church

First African Baptist Church

The First African Baptist Church, constructed in 1937, is on the northern end of Cumberland Island.

Photograph from National Park Service

Church of God in Christ

Church of God in Christ

A minister preaches in 1942 at the Church of God in Christ in Washington, D.C. The largest Black Pentecostal denomination in the United States, the Church of God in Christ began in Mississippi during the 1890s and by the 1920s had founded twenty-one congregations in Georgia.

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Charles Harrison Mason

Charles Harrison Mason

Charles Harrison Mason, a founder of the Church of God in Christ, was instrumental in the spreading of the denomination's Pentecostal message around the South in the first decades of the twentieth century. Mason headed the Church of God in Christ until his death in 1961.

Church of God in Christ Choir

Church of God in Christ Choir

The choir of the Church of God in Christ in Washington, D.C., sings during a worship service in 1942. Active in various social causes, the denomination supported the work of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., a native of Georgia.

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Jain Temple

Jain Temple

The Jain Temple in Norcross, pictured in 2006, was built in the late 1990s by the Jain Society of Greater Atlanta, a group that practices the Indian religion Jainism. The temple was the first of its kind to be constructed in the state.

Photograph by Kate Howard, New Georgia Encyclopedia

River Chapel Primitive Baptist Church

River Chapel Primitive Baptist Church

River Chapel Primitive Baptist Church in Columbus is one of the approximately 425 Primitive Baptist congregations, comprising around 13,500 members, that were established in Georgia as of 2005.

Photograph by Kate Howard, New Georgia Encyclopedia

Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church

Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church

Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church in Quitman was initially established in 1834 about a mile away from the site of the pictured building, which was constructed in the mid-1860s. Primitive Baptists formed as a separate denomination early in the nineteenth century.

Image from Jud McCranie

Camp Creek Primitive Baptist Church

Camp Creek Primitive Baptist Church

A Bible remains open on the pulpit of Camp Creek Primitive Baptist Church in Lilburn. Primitive Baptist ministers typically do not receive a salary for their work and practice extemporaneous preaching.

Double Branch Free Will Baptist Church

Double Branch Free Will Baptist Church

The Double Branch Free Will Baptist Church in Dooly County, pictured in 1972, was founded in 1896. The Free Will Baptist denomination, which emphasizes mission work and education, was established in Georgia in the 1830s by John Travis Brodnax and Cyrus White.

Courtesy of Geraldine Waid, Georgia Free Will Baptist Historical Society

Laura Belle Barnard

Laura Belle Barnard

Laura Belle Barnard, a native of Glennville, was a Free Will Baptist missionary to India between 1935 and 1957. There she worked primarily with the "untouchables," the lowest class in the Hindu caste system. Also a prolific writer, Barnard was a professor at the Free Will Baptist College from 1960 until 1972.

Courtesy of Matt Pinson

Free Will Baptist Bible College

Free Will Baptist Bible College

Davidson Hall, the original home of Free Will Baptist Bible College in Nashville, Tennessee, today serves as the school's music building. The college was founded in 1942, when it incorporated the older Zion Bible School in Blakely, Georgia.

Photograph by Harry Butler

St. Marys Episcopal Church

St. Marys Episcopal Church

An Episcopal church in St. Marys, identified as the Episcopal Colored Church, is pictured in 1954. During the 1950s and 1960s, Episcopalians in Georgia struggled with issues of segregation, along with the rest of the nation.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #
cam071.

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St. John’s Episcopal Church

St. John’s Episcopal Church

One of the first Gothic revival churches in the state was St. John's Episcopal in Savannah, designed in 1850 by New York architect Calvin Otis and supervised by architect Calvin Fay. St. John's has distinctive pointed arches, buttresses, and great hammerbeam trusses on its interior.

Image from Jud McCranie

St. Paul’s Church

St. Paul’s Church

St. Paul's Church was established in Augusta in 1750. Along with Christ Church in Savannah and Christ Church on St. Simons Island, St. Paul's was part of the first Anglican (later Episcopalian) diocese in Georgia.

Image from J. Stephen Conn

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Stephen Elliott Jr.

Stephen Elliott Jr.

In 1841 Stephen Elliott Jr. was appointed the first Episcopal bishop in Georgia. During the Civil War, Elliott led the movement that formed the Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America. He was later instrumental in reconciling Northern and Southern churches at the war's end in 1865.

St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church

St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church

St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church in Darien was built in 1876 for the area's Black congregation by the Reverend James Wentworth Leigh, who also served as pastor for the white congregation of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. The church was constructed of tabby and named for an African saint.

Photograph by Judson McCranie

Cathedral of St. Philip

Cathedral of St. Philip

The Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta serves as the seat of the Diocese of Atlanta, which comprises approximately 100 Episcopal congregations in north Georgia. St. Philip's was founded in 1846, and construction of the cathedral, which was dedicated in 1962, began in 1947.

Image from John Phelan

Christ Church of Savannah

Christ Church of Savannah

Christ Church of Savannah, the first Anglican church to be established in the Georgia colony, was founded by Henry Herbert in 1733. The current church building, the third to be constructed on the site since 1744, was completed in 1838.

Image from Roman Eugeniusz

First Baptist Church

First Baptist Church

First Baptist Church in Savannah, constructed on Chippewa Square in 1833, is the oldest church building in the city. The congregation formed in 1800 under pastor Henry Holcombe.

Photograph by Sarah E. McKee, New Georgia Encyclopedia

Baptismal Pool

Baptismal Pool

The dressing room for baptismal candidates stands beside the baptismal pool of the Kiokee Baptist Church in Columbia County. The church, founded in 1772, is the first continuing Baptist church to be established in the state.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #
clm008.

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Baptist Sermon

Baptist Sermon

A sermon entitled "The Duty of Baptists to Teach Their Distinctive Views" was delivered by John A. Broadus at the 1881 meeting of the American Baptist Publication Society. The sermon was published by the Christian Index, a Baptist periodical established in 1822 and still in print today.

Courtesy of Jack Tarver Library Special Collections, Mercer University

First African Baptist Church

First African Baptist Church

First African Baptist Church in Savannah, founded around 1777, is one of the oldest Black congregations in the United States. The church's current building was constructed in 1859 and houses a museum containing the church archives and historical artifacts.

Photograph by Sarah E. McKee, New Georgia Encyclopedia

Baptist Sign

Baptist Sign

A sign directs passersby to the Northside Baptist Church, an independent Baptist church in Athens. Northside identifies itself as a "KJV church," indicating that the congregation relies exclusively on the King James translation of the Bible.

Photograph by Darby Carl Sanders, New Georgia Encyclopedia

Camp Creek Baptist Church

Camp Creek Baptist Church

Camp Creek Primitive Baptist Church was founded in Lilburn in 1823; the current church building (pictured) was erected in 1906. Like other traditional Primitive Baptists, the Camp Creek congregation follows a model of worship as described in the New Testament.

Shallowford Free Will Baptist Church

Shallowford Free Will Baptist Church

Shallowford Free Will Baptist Church in Marietta offers a variety of ministries to its congregation and the community, including Bible study, counseling, choir, and missions. An emphasis on both mission work and education forms a central tenet of the Free Will denomination.

Courtesy of Sean C. Powell

James Oglethorpe

James Oglethorpe

James Oglethorpe, along with a twenty-one-member Board of Trustees, founded the colony of Georgia in 1733 and directed its development for nearly a decade. Although the board appointed Anglican clergy to the new colony, Oglethorpe welcomed settlers of a variety of religious persuasions.

Courtesy of Oglethorpe University

John Wesley Preaching

John Wesley Preaching

John Wesley, appointed an Anglican rector for the Georgia colony in 1735, served at Christ Church in Savannah. Influenced by his interactions with Moravians during his time in Georgia, Wesley founded Methodism after his return to England in 1737.

Photograph from Wellcome Trust, Wikimedia

George Whitefield

George Whitefield

An engraving of Anglican minister George Whitefield, created in 1774, depicts him preaching at a church in New York. A popular figure of the eighteenth-century Great Awakening in America, Whitefield founded the Bethesda orphanage near Savannah in 1740.

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Monastery of the Holy Spirit

Monastery of the Holy Spirit

The church at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, completed in 1960, was built by the community of monks in Conyers. The monastery was established in 1944 by Trappist monks who moved from a monastery in Gethsemani, Kentucky, to found a new community in Georgia.

Courtesy of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery

Trappist Monk

Trappist Monk

The Trappist monks at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers are members of the Order of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance, a sect of Cistercian monks that originated in France and follows the teachings of the seventeenth-century abbot Armand de Rance.

Courtesy of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery

Monastery Founders

Monastery Founders

The founders of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, pictured in 1944, traveled to Georgia from Kentucky in that year to establish a new Trappist monastery, which became the first in the country to form as a "daughter" community to another monastery within the United States.

Courtesy of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery

Monastery Barn

Monastery Barn

Trappist monks settled in this barn in Conyers and began work on a monastery in 1944. By the end of that year, they had completed a temporary housing structure, and in 1959 the community members moved into the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, where they reside today.

Courtesy of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery

United Liberal Church, 1954

United Liberal Church, 1954

The United Liberal Church in Atlanta reopened as an integrated congregation in 1954, after being closed by the American Unitarian Association in 1951 for practicing racial segregation. Members of the new church became active in the civil rights movement.

Courtesy of Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta Records, Pitts Theology Library, Emory University

Church of Our Father, ca. 1884

Church of Our Father, ca. 1884

Church of Our Father, the first Unitarian church in Atlanta, was established in 1883 by George Leonard Chaney. Today the Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library stands on the church's original property at North Forsyth and Church streets.

Courtesy of Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta Records, Pitts Theology Library, Emory University

Atlanta Congregation

Atlanta Congregation

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta gathers for a Sunday service. The Unitarian and Universalist churches officially merged at the national level in 1961 to form a noncreedal religious community that emphasizes social justice and education.

Photograph by Maria Dangerfield

George Leonard Chaney

George Leonard Chaney

George Leonard Chaney established the first Unitarian church in Atlanta in 1883. Chaney worked to create educational opportunities for African Americans in the city by serving on the board of trustees for the Atlanta University Center and by opening the first free lending library for Blacks.

Courtesy of Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta Records, Pitts Theology Library, Emory University

First Christian Church of Sandersville

First Christian Church of Sandersville

First Christian Church of Sandersville is a congregation within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) fellowship, a Protestant group with roots in the Restoration Movement of the early nineteenth century.

Courtesy of Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Georgia

Emily Tubman

Emily Tubman

Emily Tubman of Augusta, an early adherent of what is known today as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), poses for a photograph in the 1880s. Tubman generously supported the work of the Christian Church in Georgia by contributing funds to build and repair meeting places.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, # ric089.

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Communion Table

Communion Table

A communion table is prepared at Peachtree Corners Christian Church in Norcross. Members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) celebrate weekly communion, which is considered to be an integral part of their worship experience.

Courtesy of Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Georgia

Thomas Campbell

Thomas Campbell

Thomas Campbell, a Presbyterian clergyman from Scotland, founded the "Disciples of Christ" in 1807, after being censured for preaching to non-Presbyterians. In 1832 the Disciples in Pennsylvania united with the "Christians," a like-minded group in Kentucky led by Barton Warren Stone.

Camp Christian

Camp Christian

The Camp Christian retreat center in Gordon is a ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Georgia. In addition to hosting various summer camp programs, the center offers facilities throughout the year for meetings, overnight stays, and outdoor recreation.

Courtesy of Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Georgia

St. John the Baptist

St. John the Baptist

St. John the Baptist in Savannah, the oldest Catholic cathedral in Georgia, opened in 1876 after three years of construction. After burning in 1898, the cathedral was rebuilt with funds donated from both Catholics and non-Catholics around the state.

Locust Grove Cemetery

Locust Grove Cemetery

The first Catholic community in Georgia was established at Locust Grove, near modern-day Sharon, in the early 1790s. All that remains of the settlement today is a cemetery in Taliaferro County.

Courtesy of Catholic Diocese of Savannah Archives

John England

John England

From 1820 until 1842, John England served as bishop of the Diocese of Charleston, which was created to support Catholic communities in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. During his tenure he founded an order of nuns called the Sisters of Mercy, who arrived in Georgia during the 1940s.

Courtesy of Catholic Diocese of Charleston Archives

Augustin Verot

Augustin Verot

Augustin Verot, known as the "Rebel Bishop" for his support of the Confederacy during the Civil War, became bishop of the Diocese of Savannah in 1861 and led the Catholic community through the turbulent years of war and Reconstruction.

Courtesy of Catholic Diocese of Savannah Archives

St. Vincent’s Academy

St. Vincent’s Academy

St. Vincent's Academy in Savannah was founded in the 1840s by the Sisters of Mercy, an order of nuns established by John England during his time as bishop of the Diocese of Charleston. The academy continues to operate as an all-girls' Catholic school in Savannah.

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record Collection, #HABS GA,26-SAV,81-1.

Benjamin Keiley

Benjamin Keiley

Benjamin Keiley, named the seventh bishop of the Diocese of Savannah in 1900, was admired by Georgians of all faiths for his service in the army of Confederate general Robert E. Lee during the Civil War. Keiley served as bishop of the diocese until 1922.

Courtesy of Catholic Diocese of Savannah Archives

LaGrange Catholic Church

LaGrange Catholic Church

Flowers decorate the altar of a Catholic church in LaGrange around 1936. In recognition of the growing number of Catholics in the Atlanta area, the Diocese of Savannah was reorganized into the Diocese of Savannah-Atlanta in 1937.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #
trp200.

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Georgia-Cumberland Headquarters

Georgia-Cumberland Headquarters

The headquarters of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, pictured in 1976, is located in Calhoun. The conference includes churches in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, # gor068.

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Ellen G. White

Ellen G. White

The writings of Ellen G. White, who was considered to have prophetic powers as the result of divine revelations, were an important influence in the development of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church during the mid-nineteenth century. In 1892 White published her best-selling book, Steps to Christ.

Courtesy of Ellen G. White Estate, Inc.

Belvedere Adventist Church

Belvedere Adventist Church

The Belvedere Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Decatur was founded in 1888 and is today part of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference.

Photograph by Yale A. Douce

Quaker Meetinghouse

Quaker Meetinghouse

A replica of the original Quaker meetinghouse stands in Wrightsborough, which was founded in 1768 as a Quaker community in present-day McDuffie County. Opposed to slavery and therefore unable to compete in Georgia's economy, the Quakers, or Religious Society of Friends, began to leave the area during the late eighteenth century.

Courtesy of Sarah Shaw

Decatur Religious Society of Friends

Decatur Religious Society of Friends

Valerie Barlow, the clerk of the meeting, concludes a worship service of the Quakers, or Religious Society of Friends, in Decatur. The Decatur Society, founded in Atlanta in 1943, was active in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and today operates a Quaker school.

Wrightsborough

Wrightsborough

Little remains of the Quaker settlement of Wrightsborough, located in present-day McDuffie County.

Courtesy of Forrest Shropshire

Anna T. Jeanes

Anna T. Jeanes

Anna T. Jeanes, pictured circa 1900, was a Philadelphia Quaker and philanthropist. In 1907 she donated $1 million for the hiring of Black teachers in rural African American schools, and the first six Jeanes teachers were hired in Georgia the following year.

Courtesy of Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library Archives, Southern Education Foundation Records.

Hebron Presbyterian Church

Hebron Presbyterian Church

Members of the Hebron Presbyterian Church in Banks County take communion during a service in the 1930s. Founded in 1796, Hebron is believed to be the oldest Presbyterian church in the county.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #
fra054.

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Covenant Presbyterian Church in Atlanta

Covenant Presbyterian Church in Atlanta

Covenant Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, founded in 1874, is a member of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, which is the largest Presbyterian body in Georgia.

Courtesy of Special Collections & Archives, Georgia State University Library, Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers Photographic Collection, 1920-1976.

Conyers Presbyterian Church

Conyers Presbyterian Church

A member of Conyers Presbyterian Church in Conyers participates in the World Day of Prayer, an interdominational, international observance, on Friday, March 7, 1997.

Philadelphia Presbyterian Church

Philadelphia Presbyterian Church

The current sancutary of Philadelphia Presbyterian Church in Morrow, founded in 1825, was built in 1895. The church is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

First Presbyterian Church of St. Marys

First Presbyterian Church of St. Marys

The First Presbyterian Church of St. Marys is the oldest Presbyterian church building in the state of Georgia. It is also the oldest building in Georgia that has been in continuous use as a church since its erection in 1808.

Courtesy of Explore Georgia.

John Calvin

John Calvin

John Calvin, a sixteenth-century French theologian, founded the Calvinist movement, which emphasizes a doctrine of predestination. The Calvinist theological tradition is the basis of the present-day Presbyterian Church belief system.

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

First Church of Christ Scientist, Thomasville

First Church of Christ Scientist, Thomasville

The First Church of Christ Scientist in Thomasville, pictured around 1940, was dedicated in 1918. The Christian Science movement, founded in Massachusetts during the 1860s by Mary Baker Eddy, first arrived in Georgia in 1886, when Julia S. Bartlett, a follower of Eddy's, delivered a lecture in Atlanta.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #
tho272.

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Mary Baker Eddy

Mary Baker Eddy

Mary Baker Eddy founded the Christian Scientists Association in 1876, one year after publishing her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Eddy claimed that, through direct revelation, she had acquired an understanding of healing.

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Hindu Temple of Atlanta

Hindu Temple of Atlanta

The Hindu Temple of Atlanta serves the growing Hindu population of northeast Georgia. The temple serves as the focus of Hindu life, where practitioners gather for worship, education, and social activities.

Photograph by Kate Howard, New Georgia Encyclopedia

Hindu Temple of Atlanta

Hindu Temple of Atlanta

The Hindu Temple of Atlanta, the oldest Hindu temple in Georgia, was completed in 1990. Located in Riverdale, the temple is modeled on an ancient temple in Tirumala-Tirupathi, South India.

Photograph by Kate Howard, New Georgia Encyclopedia

Hindu Service

Hindu Service

A Hindu woman participates in a puja, or worship service, which is typically conducted in Sanskrit. Prayers and offerings of food and flowers are presented to the Hindu deities during the puja.

Cosmic Form of Eighteen-Armed Vishnu

Cosmic Form of Eighteen-Armed Vishnu

This eleventh-century sandstone sculpture from India depicts the Hindu god Vishnu in his cosmic form. Vishnu's eighteen arms hold a variety of weapons, including those of the two other gods in the Hindu trinity, Shiva and Brahma. The sculpture is part of the Ester R. Portnow Collection of Asian Art at the Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta.

Gift of Nathan Rubin-Ida Ladd Family Foundation. Courtesy of Michael C. Carlos Foundation

Resurrection of Christ Mosaic

Resurrection of Christ Mosaic

A Byzantine-style mosaic inside the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation in Atlanta depicts the resurrection of Christ. Surrounded by Old Testament prophets and kings, the risen Christ delivers Adam and Eve from Hell.

Photograph by Melinda G. Smith, New Georgia Encyclopedia