Folkston, GA 31537
Sardis Primitive Baptist Church was constituted on January 7, 1821 to serve the needs of the growing population in Charlton County, GA. The church was moved to its present location in 1840. On October 13, 1856 Sardis was admitted into the Alapaha River Primitive Baptist Association. The roots of the Primitive Baptist go back before the split in the Baptist Church between the Primitive and the Missionary Baptists. By Primitive, these Baptist simply mean they worship as the first Baptists did. Also, their churches, services, and way of life tend to be simpler in comparison to some of today's ways.
There are doors on the either side of the church as well as the front of the church. Women and men enter from separate sides. This is by no means discrimination, but is symbolic of their equality in God's eyes. In addition, women and men sit on separate sides of the church to show that marriage between men and women is not the major factor to God. While worshipping God, men and women are to forget such things and to concentrate on their worship. Setting apart is meant to aid this. Visitors and the un-baptized sit in seats that face the pulpit.
The beautiful rafters of this church, whether intentional or not, draw the eyes upward. Through the spaces in the boards of the roof sunlight peaks through. All woodwork is left unpainted and unadorned. The men's side of the church sports a hat rack. There are holes in the floor in front of each of the men's seats where the bare ground underneath can be seen. The woodwork both inside of the church and outside it truly stunning. The pulpit is from the original church building. Legend has it that a bullet hole in the pulpit is the result of an overexcited soldier who thought the Indians were attacking and fired his rifle.
A Georgia historical marker located on Georgia Highway 121 about two miles down the road from this church reads as follows: "Sardis Church, about 2 miles West on this Road, is the oldest church in Charlton County. Constituted some time before 1821, the first edifice was built in this area. The church was moved to or near its present site in 1840. The pulpit in this edifice has been in use for more than 100 years, and bears a bullet scar from the Indian Wars. With 24 members, Sardis Church was admitted to the Alapaha River Primitive Baptist Association, October 13, 1856. In the cemetery adjacent to the church are buried many of the pioneers of this section." Services are held on the 3rd Sunday of each month.
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