Galilee’s Glorious History

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In the summer of 1870 about a dozen men and women met together in the small community of Galilee to establish a church. This community already consisted of a school, a doctor’s office, a general store, a grist mill and a cotton gin. Now a church would make this little village complete.
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Philip F. Lamar, who was originally from Macon, Georgia, had already established a number of new congregations in the northeast Georgia area. He and his brother, James S. Lamar, were known as the “Great Evangelists”. Galilee would be the last church that he would establish as he would die in 1878 and would be buried in the Galilee church cemetery. 
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John Lewis Elder donated an acre of land and with the help of the local men, trees were cut down and hewn into timbers that formed the framework of this small church building. The lumber for the inside of the building was hand-planed and the outside was covered with weather boarding painted white.

 

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Two front doors were common for this era as the men entered on one side and the women on the other, each sitting on opposite sides of the building.  Since those early beginnings, the little community of Galilee has disappeared with only the church remaining.  For over 140 years, this congregation has remained strong.
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In 1929, following the stock market crash, this rural congregation decided that it was time to add to the original building that was now 59 years old. Two classrooms and an entry-way were added (just one door this time).  Wooden theater seats were added to an auditorium that would now seat 104 persons. Stewart McElhannon and Jerry Johnson were the lead contractors for this addition and money was raised by cash donations and by the selling of chickens. The cost of the new addition was $2,100, which included a new roof on the old building, all interiors painted and new seating.

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In 1962, a concrete block building was added to the rear of the existing facilities which included five Sunday School rooms and, for the first time, indoor bathrooms. There was a full basement which was used for a fellowship hall. 
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Otherwise the original buildings remained unchanged until September 1969 when they were torn down to make room for a new worship building. In February 1970, this new building, which seated approximately 200, was dedicated. In the years that followed an educational building was completed, a commercial kitchen was built, and a Family Life Center was added.

 

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In July 2004, the congregation would move several hundred yards eastward from where the first church stood to a new facility that would seat just over 700. It is here that the congregation worships today.

 

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The older buildings are still used for church offices, a Christian preschool, and social events. But the history of Galilee church is more than just buildings. It is about people. Descendants of some of the original families are still in the church. But there are hundreds of new people as well, who have moved to Jackson County. There has never been a building built but that it was done for the glory of God and the expansion of the gospel message of Christ. It has been a glorious 146 years of history.
Galilee continues to grow! Learn more about the education building we are currently planning here.