Augusta, Ga. (WJBF) – Members of a local, historic church are adding to their legacy.
Members of Elim baptist told NewsChannel 6 the church holds great history. It was first organized in the 1800s at the home of Deacon Albert Taylor, a pioneer in the community. Members gathered at the Fitten Street Cemetery to honor him with a headstone dedication ceremony for their 135th church anniversary.
Elim Baptist Church in Augusta turns 135 years old. So, members of the church commemorated the day with a headstone dedication ceremony for founder Deacon Albert Taylor at Fitten Street cemetery.
“We thought it would be proper to come at 135 years to come and celebrate our founder and the wonderful contribution he left that still remains in this community doing the great work of the Lord,” said Rev. George Miller.
Rev. George Miller is the pastor at Elim Baptist. He said the ceremony was a way of celebrating the church’s future by honoring its past.
He said, “Elim is moving forward, Elim is growing, Elim is expanding. We’re not only doing ministry here on the hill, but we’re doing ministry throughout the CSRA, but we always feel like it’s important to celebrate the past, can’t stay stuck in the past but we can always celebrate it.”
And that’s what members did, through song, prayer, and by taking a trip to the past, reliving the impact Deacon Taylor had on the community.
Jonathan Davis impersonated Deacon Taylor during the dedication ceremony. He said when preparing for the role, he felt inspired.
“He did so much and then holding such positions at that time as an African American was just unheard of,” said Davis.
Church leaders say Elim came out of Cumming Grove Baptist Church during the 1800s. That’s when white families living in the exclusive Summerville area helped buy properties in nearby Sand Hills for their black employees.
They also say several documents show the church’s founding at the home of Deacon Taylor. Andrena Carpenter was originally a member of Cumming Grove Baptist.
“It’s wonderful for me for my 78 years on earth to witness Albert Taylor. I’m a product of the hill myself, the Sandhill area, my family is from the Sandhill area, and it’s wonderful for us to represent it and see the progress he made,” said Carpenter.
And that history continues. Carpenter and other members told NewsChannel 6 that Deacon Taylor isn’t the only person buried at Summerville cemetery that left behind a legacy.