Honey Creek Baptist Church Pastor Vester Maughon, at left, and parishioner Jake Mcginnis display a sample of a brick paver that the church is selling to raise money for construction of a monument and pavilion at the site of the historic church, which has been demolished.
The old church had seen its share of sinners saved by grace, but age, deterioration, termites and the tree that fell on it in December took their toll, causing the historic Honey Creek Baptist sanctuary to be torn down last month. It may be gone, but not forgotten as church members launch a project to keep its memory and heritage alive.
Honey Creek Baptist Church has announced plans to build a monument and erect a pavilion on the site where the old sanctuary once stood. Part of the project involves selling engraved brick pavers which will be placed on the grounds. Anyone may purchase a $50 paver and have a message engraved.
"We hope everyone -- not just church members -- will put names of their family from years back," Honey Creek Deacon Chairman Jake Mcginnis said. "We don't want to leave anybody out... They can also put names of their children and grandchildren and any others too."
Mcginnis, who is heading up the monument and pavilion project, said the bricks can be engraved with three lines up to 16 characters per line. The church is also placing pavers with the names of each minister and his wife who have served the congregation since its founding in the late 1800s.
In addition to the sale of pavers, Honey Creek is also hosting a community fish fry Saturday, April 6, at 4 p.m. All proceeds will go toward funding the monument and pavilion, Mcginnis said.
The old Conyers church stood at the corner of Ebenezer and Honey Creek roads on a half-acre of land and was directly across the street from where Honey Creek Baptist Church is now located. Built in 1882, the year the church was founded, the old sanctuary had become an issue for the church, Mcginnis said.
He added that the old building had been constructed "right at the road" and, in fact, the right-of-way reached through to the middle of the restrooms inside. The building's floors had rotted and fallen in after having been repaired many times.
"We knew it was time to tear the old church down," Mcginnis said. "We got grief from the community -- not the members. We didn't have the funds to tear it down and every derelict in the world was hanging out there. People were breaking in.
"... The county and historic society wouldn't let us tear it down without jumping through hoops."
But then during a storm this past December, a huge oak tree fell across its back and gave the church no choice but to tear it down, Mcginnis said. However, there were still no funds for such an effort.
"I say it was God working," Mcginnis said. "Here we were when all of a sudden a tree falls on it and then an angel from the community gave us the money and the county gave its OK."
Mcginnis said soon after the tree fell on the old church, he was contacted by a member of the community who was not a church member, but wanted to help the church remove the old structure. He gave the church a check for $15,000.
"Everything just fell into place like click, click, click," Mcginnis said.
Today, Honey Creek Baptist worships in the sanctuary it built on 1.5 acres of land 12 years ago at 1740 Honey Creek Road, which is across the street from where it first began.
"We say we have 130 years of glorifying God at this corner," Mcginnis said. "That's what this site is dedicated to. We see something really good happening."
Once it is completed, the Honey Creek Baptist project will include a black granite monument surrounded by brick pavers and situated in front of a new pavilion expected to include bathrooms and a small kitchen area.
Honey Creek Baptist Church, which is an independent Baptist Church, offers Sunday School from 10 to 11 a.m. and worship at 11 a.m. Pastor of the church is the Rev. Vester Maughon, who has led the congregation for almost two decades.
To purchase an engraved brick paver, contact Mcginnis at 770-616-6072. The fish fry, which will be held at the church, will sell plates at $10 each and include three pieces of catfish, French fries, hush puppies, coleslaw and a drink.