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Historical Church established in the 1800's gets a makeover in South Georgia

South Georgia community members gather to renovate historical church
Posted at 7:30 PM, Mar 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-16 19:42:31-04

COOLIDGE, Ga. (WTXL) — The historical Mt. Zion Primitive Baptist Church is set for a makeover. The church was established in 1842.

Now, family members of the original members are financing renovations to the once abandoned building.

"If you don't remember where you came from, you're going to have a hard time getting to where you need to go," Jonathan Crawford, a community member.

Mt. Zion Primitive Baptist Church opened its doors back in 1842. During its run, the church buried nearly 200 members on its grounds from 1851 to 2002.

Since its last service back in 2004, the church has remained empty and abandoned. Now, family members of the deceased buried at the church have created a group designed to restore the church back to its former glory.

Members like Jonathan Crawford. His great-great-great grandmother and grandfather were buried here.

"Everyone likes that sense of community. Everyone likes feeling like they belong. These are the little things, the little momentous, that ties us to the past and helps bring us together here in the present," said Crawford.

Crawford part of a group to help restore the grounds.

The group, Friends of Mt. Zion are now working on replacing things such as windows, floors, steps, and restoring its cemetery.

Chairman Daniel Luke said it was an easy choice deciding to be a part of the church's renovation adding his ties to the historical church runs deep. Several of Luke's family members were buried at the church's cemetery and Luke finds comfort in living just a short distance away.

"It ensures the legacy of the people who started it. It shows we appreciated what they've started here so many years ago," said Luke.

As for what's to come, there's one thing all volunteers could agree on. They'd like to see the church restored to what it originally was and have a place for everyone to gather and worship.

"Just to see it as a good community center where people can come and share the love of God and grace to each other," said Luke.

It will take up to 35 or 40,000 dollars to fully renovate the historical building but that he feels they've made a great start.

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