The little red church in the pines that you see above is unique in many ways, and is one of the most charming we have discovered in rural Georgia. The church was organized in 1844, and the consensus seems to be that this is the third structure on the site…although it may only be the second according to some sources. We think the present church was built in the mid 1890’s. Reverend Irvin Roberts Booth (1822 – 1896), who moved to Clinch County in 1840 from South Carolina, is credited with the organization of the church and the raising of the first structure. He then served as pastor for fifty years, and the history tells us that he conducted the Sunday School class on the Sunday before his death in 1896 at the age of 84.
It would be difficult to overstate the appeal of the little church or that of its setting. The United Methodist History of the South Georgia Conference said it best in 1982. “In Clinch County near the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp among tall pines, is a small one-room, high-arched-roof building, painted red with white trim. There is no electricity or modern comforts and there is silence all about. This is Antioch.” Part of Antioch’s appeal is in the architectural proportions…part of it is the red paint and white trim…and part the cedar shake roof. This is one of the smallest rural churches we have seen. Most have either four or five standard windows on the side…..some have six. Antioch has but two. Even the little chimney has a unique charm, being hand made of local clay with uneven coloring.
The setting is elegant, in a stand of tall Georgia pines and the church beckons to come inside. When you enter the church, the visual images are just stunning, as you will see in the following photos. It is very apparent that this church has a very small but loving congregation that has maintained it over the years in pristine fashion with a proper sense of historical stewardship. The pastor’s name is Lori Howell, and she also works for the Waycross regional library. She is a gracious hostess and we are so thankful that the little red church in the pines has been so well preserved, and will honor Georgia rural history for generations to come. We are told that the church closed at some point in the first half of the 20th century, but in 1944 or ’45 it reopened. Regardless of having only four regularly attending members, services are still held each second and fourth Sunday at 9 AM. Services are conducted by Pastor Lori Howell. All are welcome to attend. Be prepared for a visual treat.